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Insects Develop Pesticide Resistance Through Symbiosis With Gut Flora 144

Posted by samzenpus
from the with-a-little-help-from-my-little-friends dept.
First time accepted submitter blinkin247 writes "The indiscriminate spraying of pesticides has probably caused as many problems as it has solved, but here's one that was not expected: some bacteria have decided that insecticide is a very tasty meal. Unfortunately for us, one of the strains of bacteria that has evolved the ability to digest the toxin happens to be able to find a home in an insect's gut. When it does so, it provides the insect with resistance."
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Insects Develop Pesticide Resistance Through Symbiosis With Gut Flora

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  • Evelution in action. (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @08:23PM (#39801889)

    So.. Symbiotic evolution. Little bacterial critters that an evolve quickly lend their larger, longer lived, more slowly evolving hosts benefit in exchange for a place to live.

    Interesting that these hardy critters mostly affect the farming rich bible belt states, where it's in vogue to badmouth evolution. Teach that controversy!

  • Re:Curses! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:03PM (#39802159) Journal

    Yes. The creationists will have a hard time explaining this one.

    My guess is they'll say that bacteria with this resistance already existed in the population, but spraying made it so only those bacteria survived.

    And for all I know, in this case they might be right.

  • Life will find a way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @09:58PM (#39802463) Homepage Journal

    No matter whether you're dealing with antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, or natural predators, life will always evolve to survive.

    We all know this. The scientists. The chemists. The engineers. The pharmacorps. The pesticide and herbicide companies.

    Hell, Monsanto even gene-engineers such resistance into their tainted products.

    But the public doesn't want to accept the truth: we're all on borrowed time. All we're doing is leveraging short-term odds for short-term gain, at the price of long term dissolution. So the marketing experts and technology pundits tell them what they want to hear: that we can win the fight in the long term.

    We can't, and we won't. Eventually every single antibiotic, pesticide, and herbicide we have will be useless, and the new generations of such products will be so lethal that we won't be able to use them because they're also poisonous to humans.

    And then the shit is really gonna hit the fan, big time.

  • by joocemann (1273720) on Wednesday April 25, 2012 @11:10PM (#39802867)

    Microbiologists ma disagree about the antibiotic resistance cold war component of your point. They often assert that when resistance is evolved against one mode of action, it is devolved from a previous mode.... this is true in bacteria, whereby removing antibiotics from media can generate a dominant species that is absent of resistance in 30 generations (1 to 2 days). This is because without the pressure, the small functional advantage of lacking a useless resistance gene lets the nonresistant mutant outpace its resistant ancestor in 30 doublings.

    I am a firm believer in working *with* nature than against it. The future looks dreary...

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