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Steven Reppert's Evaluation at Faculty of 1000 Biology

Posted by NiyazAhmed on 28 Jun 2008 at 11:17 GMT

Evaluated by: Steven Reppert
University of Massachusetts Medical School, United States of America [PHYSIOLOGY]
Evaluated 19 Jun 2008

Tag: New Finding
F1000 Factor: 3.0 (Recommended)


Invasion of the body snatchers -– the caterpillar's version: this fascinating paper shows that a braconid parasitic wasp of the genus Glyptapanteles induces behavioral changes in its host, the caterpillar of the geometrid moth Thyrinteina leucocerae, which greatly benefit the parasite at the expense of the host. Once the wasp larvae emerge from the host to pupate, the caterpillars stop feeding and maniacally guard the wasp pupae from predation. The results are that the host dies early and wasp pupa mortality is reduced. From a neurobiological perspective, this interesting host-parasite relationship provides a potential model for understanding the function of potent psychotropic molecules, be they of host or parasite origin. Moreover, this relationship may provide an insect model of induced mania?

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Niyaz Ahmed
Section Editor, PLoS ONE