Tuesday, February 10, 2015

long lost family members

When you think of lobster relatives you probably picture crabs and shrimp, not cockroaches and dragonflies. But it turns out that they may be more closely related than we originally thought! Researchers recently came together during the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting to discuss a reorganization of the family tree. Basically, instead of insects and crustaceans being separate branches, they may be part of the same branch called 'Pancrustacea':

This special symposium was co-organized by my Master's advisor friend, Sherry Tamone! In the past, researchers have noticed similarities between insects and crustaceans, but their methods for studying them differed. There are more genetic resources for insects while crustacean researchers focus on hormones (like me!). But, using this symposium as an example, they're coming together to find similarities. Take methyl farnesoate and insect juvenile hormone: they control growth and maturation in crustaceans and insects, respectively, but are inactive in their arthropod counter part. The link is that production of both are limited by the same enzymes!

sesquiterpenoids represent!

As Sherry says, "We should get comfortable eating crickets. It's all one big group." You can read more in Science and check out abstracts from the symposium here.