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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Stolen Fungus Gene Turned Aphids Red
29 April 2010 2:00 pm
You are what you eat—or, at least, you may turn the same color as the things you eat. Flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp, and even humans can turn orange if we consume too many carrots or tomatoes. The agents responsible are pigments known as carotenoids, but scientists have now found that at least one animal doesn't need to eat them to change color. Instead, tiny insects called aphids picked up the genes needed to produce carotenoids from a fungus sometime during their evolutionary history. That makes aphids the first animal known to produce its own carotenoids, researchers report tomorrow in Science. The scientists remark that it is curious that other animals haven't acquired a means to produce carotenoids, given the many important functions they perform, such as strengthening the immune system.