When fully grown they have a diminutive size of only 1-2 mm: the “Nasonia” wasps. But great hopes are drawn from them. Nasonia are parasitic insects infesting fly pupae. By doing so, they are naturally eliminating important agricultural pests. In order to provide constant supply of food for its offspring, the wasp must prevent the early death of the host flies – not less then 40-50 eggs are laid into each pupa. As biological pest control Nasonia is not yet perfect. But this could be changed in the future by using genetic engineering since the whole genome of Nasonia has been decoded by an international team of researchers supported by zoologists from Jena University. Their findings will be published in this Friday’s issue of the well renowned journal „Science” (15/01/2010). “We now have the fully elaborated genome of Nasonia at our disposal,” says Dr. Reinhard Predel from the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, pleased about it.
Nasonia has long been known for its useful way of life. The wasp also became interesting for sciencists because its cells tend to contain their own ‘parasitoid’ “Wolbachia” bacteria. The international team of researchers – lead by the US-American Prof. Dr. John H. Werren – has detected that these bacteria perform a strong lateral gene transfer with their host cells. That is why bacteria genes can also be found in the wasp genome, which made the analysis of the genome „quite difficult,” as Reinhard Predel can confirm. Finally the complete elimination of the bacteria by antibiotics confirmed the existence of an extensive transfer of genes.
Hmm, a parasitic wasp genes from a parasitic bacteria. It would be interesting if those genes from the smaller parasite made the parasitic wasp into a parasite. This is interesting because we humans have the DNA of ancient viruses in our own DNA, which, by the way, is something Raymond Royal Rife says he saw in action when he isolated the BX virus and cured cancer in San Diego CA in 1938.