SYMBIOSIS

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Science  30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 516
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6221.516-g

Pea aphids require the bacterium Buchnera to develop and reproduce

PHOTO: SHIPHER WU

Many invertebrates harbor symbiotic bacteria. Because these relationships have evolved over millions of years, dissecting whether a particular feature of an organism results from the host's or the symbiont's genes is a challenge. Moran and Yun discovered how to manipulate an obligatory symbiosis between a bacterium and its aphid host. They did this by exploiting a natural mutation in the bacteria that causes them to die at high temperatures. They then replaced the dead bacteria by injecting heat-tolerant bacteria. Evidence of success came when not just the symbionts but also the recipient aphids developed a striking tolerance to high temperatures.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1420037112 (2015).

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