What Bed Bugs Can Teach us About Evolution

Bed bugs may represent a perfect model organism for evolutionary questions, according to an article in The New York Times. Of particular interest to scientists is new research indicating that some bed bugs are well on their way to becoming a new species.

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February 6, 2015

Bed bugs may represent a perfect model organism for evolutionary questions, according to an article in the New York Times. Of particular interest to scientists is new research indicating that some bed bugs are well on their way to becoming a new species.

The Times interviewed Warren Booth, a biologist at the University of Tulsa and a co-author of the new study, published in Molecular Ecology.

Booth, Toby Fountain, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, and other bed bug experts study the insects by collaborating with pest management professionals, who preserve some specimens in alcohol and ship them to the scientists, The Times reported.. The researchers extract the DNA, finding clues to the bed bug’s natural history. Variations in their genes reveal a lot about how the insects move around the world. As it turns out, their DNA even offers clues as to how bed bugs became such annoyances in the first place.

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Source: New York Times