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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: Why Some Cockroaches Check Out of Roach Motels
23 May 2013 2:00 pm
Roach motels sit at the back of many a kitchen cupboard, bedroom closet, or bathroom cabinet. Yet, to the bane of human residents, only a few years after the traps were introduced in the 1980s, they lost their allure for an increasing number of German cockroaches. Researchers soon realized that some roaches had developed an aversion to glucose—the sugary bait disguising the poison—and that the insects were passing that trait on to their young. Now, scientists have figured out how this behavior evolved. Roaches, like other insects, detect taste through special receptors that line hairlike appendages on their mouthparts. The receptors differentiate between sweet and bitter flavors, which signal to the roach whether to eat or avoid the food, respectively. The researchers performed experiments on more than 1000 German cockroaches from the field and about 250 raised in the lab. The normal roaches happily lapped up both glucose and fructose, but the glucose-averse roaches ate only the fructose and spat out the glucose, the team reports online today in Science. Electrophysiological recordings indicated that glucose triggered sweet receptors in the normal roaches but bitter receptors in the other roaches. The change in behavior may save the insects' lives, but it does have its disadvantages: Glucose-averse roaches grow and reproduce more slowly than those with less finicky tastes.
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