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2.  Losing the desire: selection can promote obligate asexuality 
BMC Biology  2010;8:101.
Whilst parthenogenesis has evolved multiple times from sexual invertebrate and vertebrate lineages, the drivers and consequences of the sex-asex transition remain mostly uncertain. A model by Stouthamer et al. recently published in BMC Evolutionary Biology shows a pathway by which obligate asexuality could be selected for following endosymbiont infection.
See research article
PMCID: PMC2911426  PMID: 20687906
3.  Lateral gene transfer between prokaryotes and multicellular eukaryotes: ongoing and significant? 
BMC Biology  2009;7:20.
The expansion of genome sequencing projects has produced accumulating evidence for lateral transfer of genes between prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. However, it remains controversial whether these genes are of functional importance in their recipient host. Nikoh and Nakabachi, in a recent paper in BMC Biology, take a first step and show that two genes of bacterial origin are highly expressed in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. Active gene expression of transferred genes is supported by three other recent studies. Future studies should reveal whether functional proteins are produced and whether and how these are targeted to the appropriate compartment. We argue that the transfer of genes between host and symbiont may occasionally be of great evolutionary importance, particularly in the evolution of the symbiotic interaction itself.
PMCID: PMC2687425  PMID: 19416510
4.  The pathology of embryo death caused by the male-killing Spiroplasma bacterium in Drosophila nebulosa 
BMC Biology  2007;5:9.
Inherited bacteria that kill male offspring, male-killers, are known to be common in insects, but little is understood about the mechanisms used by male-killing bacteria to kill males. In this paper we describe the tempo and changes that occur during male-killing by Spiroplasma bacteria in the host Drosophila nebulosa.
Spiroplasma infected D. nebulosa males were developmentally retarded from 6–8 h into embryonic development at 25°C, and arrested at between stages 12 and 13 of embryogenesis (10–12 h). Dying males were characterized by a failure to form segments, and ultimately disintegration of the normal oval embryonic shape. Prior to death, dying males exhibited widespread apoptosis, as testified by TUNEL staining.
The Spiroplasma kills male Drosophila in a narrow developmental period, shortly after the formation of the host dosage compensation complex that is required for male-killing. Male death is preceded by widespread apoptosis, but it is uncertain if this is primary or secondary apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC1832177  PMID: 17362512

Results 1-4 (4)