Scientists manipulate bug's "change of life"

Scientists have figured out how to prematurely cause a silkworm's metamorphosis, a discovery they hope will lead to environmentally friendly pesticides.

The National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS), based in Tokyo, has produced genetically modified silkworms using the insect's genome information, which the NIAS decoded last year. Using a technique in re-cycling the silkworm, scientists were able to overproduce the juvenile hormone "esterase" in the insect to prematurely cause its change.

The scientists believe that the work will help bring about insect-specific pesticides. Now that's fooling with Mother Nature.

The findings were published online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States.

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    Stefanie Olsen covers technology and science.

     

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