Butterflies Genetically Modified by Wasps

Butterflies Genetically Modified by Wasps

If I told you that there were some genetically modified butterflies out there right now, what would you think?  Chances are you’d be thinking of some sort of bright white building and people in lab-suits pacing the vicinity, with all sorts of high tech equipment you’d be surprised any amount of money can buy.

Well if that is a case, it isn’t the one I’m getting at.  Let’s start October right and talk more about parasitic wasps, which, as a quick recap, are the wasps that lay their eggs in your body and let their young eat their way out.  Weird thing is, this is how the mutation takes place as well.  It’s been discovered that wasps host a group of viruses called bracovirus in their ovaries, which is how it’s passed along to their young.  Somehow, this DNA gets spliced into the caterpillar, which if it survives, has a chance of passing along to it’s offspring.

But that begs the question how exactly does that help the future butterflies?  As it turns out, it helps keep them safe from another family of viruses, the baculovirus, which is a common field pathogen.

Scientists have said that this discovery could very well be just the tip of the iceberg, but either way, one thing is certain: Sometimes what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger!

For a continued reading on the matter however, click here for RT’s article on the matter.

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