OCT 03, 2016 02:20 PM PDT

Bacterial DNA can Change the sex of Pillbugs

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Armadillidiidae, members of the phylum Arthropoda, are commonly called pillbugs because they can roll into a tight ball. Their sex chromosomes can go bad because of disuse, and they obtain DNA from bacteria to refresh it. That hodgepodge of genetic material can result in pillbugs becoming female.

At the International Congress of Entomology on September 29, Richard Cordaux of the University of Poitiers announced that genetic analysis traces the DNA that results in females to Wolbachia bacteria. These microbes impact many arthropods. They can be transmitted from mother to offspring and have an influence on sex ratios that results in more female offspring.

Poitier and his colleague Clément Gilbert have shown that Wolbachia can create lady pill bugs by donating DNA directly to the pill bug genes. The researchers suggest that the bacteria can insert feminizing genes into pill bug chromosomes. This is another intriguing example of gene transfer, an area of increasing research interest.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
NOV 13, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 13, 2019
How the Rosetta Mission Augmented Our Understanding of Comets
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched its Rosetta mission in 2004 to study the particularly captivating comet 67P, and after a ten-year journey, the mis...
NOV 13, 2019
Cardiology
NOV 13, 2019
Diagnosed With Atopic Dermatitis?
Eczema, dermatitis, atopic dermatitis: all names for the same disease of the skin. Although common in children during the first year of life, the condition...
NOV 13, 2019
Plants & Animals
NOV 13, 2019
Everything You Didn't Know About Hyenas
The humble hyena is often depicted as dim-witted, but as the scientific facts would show, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Despite the negati...
NOV 13, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 13, 2019
Protein Batteries - Talk About "Power Bars"
The pioneers behind lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries were awarded Nobel prize this year. Still, scientists around the world already wish to move beyond this...
NOV 13, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 13, 2019
ESA's Solar Orbiter is Nearly Ready to Launch
Move over Parker Solar Probe, there’s a new Sun-orbiting spacecraft in town. The European Space Agency has completed the assembly of the Solar Orbite...
NOV 13, 2019
Health & Medicine
NOV 13, 2019
CDC Links Vitamin E Acetate to Vaping Illness
The actual cost of e-cigarette usage continues to reveal itself as reports of lung injury cases and deaths continue to rise. Scientists are diligently work...
Loading Comments...