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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: Sex and the Single Insect
15 July 2011 5:00 pm
The female scale insect (Icerya purchasi) is an independent woman. She carries her own sperm—harbored in tissue passed down through the generations—so she doesn't need a male to have her babies. Scientists have long believed that this unique procreation strategy—scale insects are the only hermaphroditic insects and the only animal in the world to employ such a sperm packet—is harmful to the female, as the "sperm packet" consumes resources in her body that she could otherwise devote to making more eggs. But a new analysis, to be published next month in The American Naturalist, suggests that there are advantages to being single. By using her own sperm instead of mating with a male, the female keeps all of her family's genes in her bloodline. The strategy, however, may not be so good for the few males left in scale insect populations: They're becoming obsolete and may eventually go extinct.
See more ScienceShots.