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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Body Louse Genome Reveals a Vulnerable Parasite
21 June 2010 2:44 pm
Here's a head-scratcher: Human body lice (Pediculus humanus humanus) drink only human blood—but they may have no idea what it tastes like. The newly-sequenced louse genome, published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, codes for only one-tenth as many taste and odor receptors as do the genomes of most other insects. It's still not clear which compounds the lice can taste and smell, but since there are so few, those receptors may be good targets for new pesticides or repellents. What's more, the louse relies entirely on a symbiotic bacterium, Reisia, to produce vitamin B5. The researchers behind the louse genome also sequenced the bacterium, and they found that it lacks genes for antibiotic resistance. So antibiotics might turn out to be louse killers, too.
See more ScienceShots.