Ecology . Evolutionary Biology . Genetics . Plant Research

Research report 2007 - Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology

Borrowed Genes: Keys to Evolutionary Novelty in Plant-Insect Interactions


Heckel, David G.; Vogel, Heiko; Fischer, Hanna; Schöne, Sebastian


Entomologie (Prof. David G. Heckel)
MPI für chemische Ökologie, Jena

In the coevolutionary interplay between herbivorous insects and their foodplants, specific chemicals play a central role: Plants and insects use novel genes to control chemicals for offensive or defensive purposes. Many of these genes arise by minor modifications of pre-existing ones, but surprisingly, some originate from unexpected sources, including the genomes of completely different species. Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Ecology review several cases that illustrate this opportunistic nature of evolution.

For the full text, see the German version.

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