Friday, September 7, 2012

Pea aphid photosynthesis!

Pea aphid (greenflie) sucking sap

This is a God and Molecular Biology bookmark
Will we ever... photosynthesise like plants
Ed Yong
BBC News Future Science and Environment September 8 2012
As a rule, animals cannot photosynthesise, but all rules have exceptions. The latest potential deviant is the pea aphid, a foe to farmers and a friend to geneticists.

Last month, Alain Robichon at the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute in France reported that the aphids use pigments called carotenoids to harvest the sun’s energy and make ATP, a molecule that acts as a store of chemical energy. (Nature 2010)

The aphids are among the very few animals that can make these pigments for themselves, using genes that they stole from fungi.

Green aphids (with lots of carotenoids) produced more ATP than white aphids (with almost none), and orange aphids (with intermediate levels) made more ATP in sunlight than in darkness.

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