One more link between peas and carrots!

A pea and a carrotRemember the carotenoids? These antioxidants that also let golden staphylococci resist phagocytosis (1)?

A recent study in Science Magazine (2) demonstrates, for the first time, the ability of animals (insects: the pea aphids that infect peas and other plants) to synthesize carotenoids.

Well, they didn’t exactly inherit it vertically from their ancestors, but rather got the genes as a kind gift from some fungus, long long time ago.

I will let you read the study, and uncover the new convoluted link between peas and carrots: Carrots make–> carotenoids also synthesized by–> fungi horizontally transferred to–> pea aphidsinfect–> peas (it’s still below six degrees of separation)!

Peas and carrotsPea aphids


Cited articles:

(1) Liu, G., & Nizet, V. (2009). Color me bad: microbial pigments as virulence factors Trends in Microbiology, 17 (9), 406-413 DOI: 10.1016/j.tim.2009.06.006

(2) Moran, N., & Jarvik, T. (2010). Lateral Transfer of Genes from Fungi Underlies Carotenoid Production in Aphids Science, 328 (5978), 624-627 DOI: 10.1126/science.1187113
ResearchBlogging.org

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One Response to “One more link between peas and carrots!”

  1. Sam Says:

    Interesting post… I never knew pea aphids have genomes that encode enzymes for carotenoid synthesis… learn something new everyday =)

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