The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our 2019 Annual Report

The rove beetle may help us ‘answer questions about evolution’ other insects can’t

rove beetle
Rove beetle. Image credit: Entonation
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

It is rare that a new organism is introduced as a model for study in biology, but Dr. [Joseph] Parker thinks rove beetles have the potential to answer questions about evolution that other insects, like the ubiquitous fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, do not.

Excerpts of a telephone conversation with Dr. Parker are below, edited for clarity and length.

One of the first things you learn about rove beetles is that they have this amazing evolutionary tendency to become symbiotic inside ant colonies. And when they do this, their behavior and their anatomy change, and they become what we call social parasites.

The payoff for being able to become a symbiont inside an ant colony is very big. If you can get your foot in the door of an ant colony, there are no other predators, it’s climatically controlled, it’s full of resources.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Precision medicine promises a lot, but has delivered little

[H]ere you have this entire symbiotic life style arising independently multiple times from kind of similar evolutionary starting material.

The rove beetles looks like this sort of quirky, obscure phenomenon that no one else works on, but when you scratch the surface of it, you see really it is getting at very deep questions in evolutionary biology.

Read full, original post: How a Common Beetle May Offer Deep Insights Into Evolution

News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend