OCT 03, 2016 2:20 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 over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 23, 2020
Plants & Animals
Sharks Missing from 1/5 of World's Reefs
JUL 23, 2020
Sharks Missing from 1/5 of World's Reefs
Sharks of all sizes are vital to coral reef ecosystems, both as predators and prey. Shark populations have rapidly decli ...
JUL 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
This Fungus Spreads by Manipulating Male Cicadas into Mimicking Females
JUL 31, 2020
This Fungus Spreads by Manipulating Male Cicadas into Mimicking Females
Researchers from West Virginia University (WVU) recently discovered how a parasitic fungus uses male cicadas to spread i ...
AUG 11, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
High THC Cannabis Linked to Anxiety
AUG 11, 2020
High THC Cannabis Linked to Anxiety
Researchers have found that people who use strains of cannabis high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive comp ...
AUG 13, 2020
Plants & Animals
Study Confirms Nutrient Transport in Pregnant Male Seahorses
AUG 13, 2020
Study Confirms Nutrient Transport in Pregnant Male Seahorses
Seahorses are some of the most extraordinary fish in the ocean, and one of their most noteworthy features is male pregna ...
AUG 22, 2020
Neuroscience
Why Don't Babies Always Remember What they Learn?
AUG 22, 2020
Why Don't Babies Always Remember What they Learn?
Researchers from Ruhr- Universitaet Bochum (RUB) in Germany have found that the mood babies are in when they learn somet ...
NOV 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
NOV 07, 2020
Scientists Discover Planet with Atmosphere of Vaporized Rock
Researchers have identified an exoplanet that appears to have an atmosphere composed of vaporized rock and oceans runnin ...
Loading Comments...