Pests and Parasites

Pests and Parasites News -- ScienceDaily Pest and Parasite Research News. Read today's research on pests and parasites and consider ways to deal with them.

  • Scientists find microbes on the skin of mice promote tissue healing, immunity
    on January 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Beneficial bacteria on the skin of lab mice work with the animals' immune systems to defend against disease-causing microbes and accelerate wound healing, according to new research. Researchers say untangling similar mechanisms in humans may improve approaches to managing skin wounds and treating other damaged tissues. […]

  • Memory loss from West Nile virus may be preventable
    on January 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain. Now, a new study in mice suggests that such ongoing neurological deficits may be due to unresolved inflammation that hinders the brain's ability to repair damaged neurons and grow new ones. When the inflammation was reduced by treatment with an arthritis drug, the animals' ability to learn and remember remained sharp after West Nile disease. […]

  • Experts raise concerns over raw meat diets for cats and dogs
    on January 12, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Experts are warning dog and cat owners to be aware of the risks associated with feeding their pets raw meat-based diets, instead of the more conventional dry or canned pet foods. […]

  • Northern corn leaf blight genes identified in new study
    on January 12, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Midwestern corn growers know the symptoms of northern corn leaf blight all too well: greenish-gray lesions on the leaves that can add up to major yield losses if not detected and treated early. Corn resistance genes have been identified, but the fungal disease has found ways to sneak around corn's defenses. Now, researchers have discovered how the fungus is outsmarting corn, and they may be able to use this information to help corn fight back. […]

  • Solving Darwin's 'abominable mystery': How flowering plants conquered the world
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Researchers have found that flowering plants have small cells relative to other major plant groups, made possible by a greatly reduced genome size, and this may explain how they became dominant so rapidly in ecosystems across the world. […]

  • Researchers map druggable genomic targets in evolving malaria parasite
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Researchers have used whole genome analyses and chemogenetics to identify new drug targets and resistance genes in 262 parasite cell lines of Plasmodium falciparum -- protozoan pathogens that cause malaria -- that are resistant to 37 diverse antimalarial compounds. […]

  • The circadian clock sets the pace of plant growth
    on January 11, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Researchers have discovered that the members of a protein family from the plant internal clock act sequentially to limit the plant growth until the end of the night. This knowledge could help to understand how plants face different kinds of stress that affect their growth, such as drought or high temperature. […]

  • In 'pond scum,' scientists find answers to one of evolution's which-came-first cases
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    A team of scientists report on new evidence that primitive moths and butterflies existed during the Jurassic period, approximately 50 million years earlier than the first flowering plants, shedding new light on one of the most confounding cases of co-evolution. […]

  • Frogs reveal mechanism that determines viability of hybrids
    on January 10, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Why are some hybrids viable and others not? It is known that this depends on the father species and the mother species. New research in two related frog species shows the influence of mother and father species: one hybrid is viable, the other hybrid dies in early stages of development. […]

  • Scientists discover workings of first promising Marburg virus treatment
    on January 10, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Scientists have discovered the workings of the first promising treatment for Marburg virus, a pathogen with the same pandemic potential as Ebola virus. […]

  • Parasites and hosts may respond differently to a warmer world
    on January 9, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Organisms infected by parasites may respond differently to changes in temperature than their uninfected counterparts, according to new research. […]

  • Deadly disinfection in ant colonies
    on January 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Ants kill colony mates infected with deadly diseases when they are unable to prevent them from falling sick in the first place. In doing so, the ants protect their colony from the outbreak of an epidemic. […]

  • Agricultural fungicide attracts honey bees
    on January 8, 2018 at 5:10 pm

    When given the choice, honey bee foragers prefer to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone, researchers report. […]

  • Hijacker parasite blocked from infiltrating blood
    on January 4, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    A major international collaboration led by Melbourne researchers has discovered that the world's most widespread malaria parasite infects humans by hijacking a protein the body cannot live without. The researchers were then able to successfully develop antibodies that disabled the parasite from carrying out this activity. […]

  • Agricultural parasite takes control of host plant's genes
    on January 3, 2018 at 6:27 pm

    Dodder, a parasitic plant that causes major damage to crops in the US and worldwide every year, can silence the expression of genes in the host plants from which it obtains water and nutrients. This cross-species gene regulation, which includes genes that contribute to the host plant's defense against parasites, has never before been seen from a parasitic plant. […]

  • Using rank order to identify complex genetic interactions
    on January 3, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Genome sequencing has revolutionized genetics. It also requires new mathematical tools to help life scientists make sense of enormous amounts of data. Applying new math, experts in the area of mathematical biology show how ranking pathogen mutants can help scientists understand how mutants evolve to resist drug treatments. This line of research could have implications for the treatment of diseases that can resist drug treatments, such as HIV and malaria. […]

  • Genetic changes help mosquitoes survive pesticide attacks
    on January 2, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    The fascinating array of genetic changes that confer pesticide resistance in Anopheles mosquitoes has been reviewed. Findings highlight the interplay between human interventions, mosquito evolution, and disease outcomes, and will help scientists develop new strategies to overcome pesticide resistance. […]

  • Diabetic blindness caused and reversed 'trapped' immune cells in rodent retinas
    on January 2, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Researchers have discovered a cell signaling pathway in mice that triggers vision loss in patients with diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusion – diseases characterized by the closure of blood vessels in the retina, leading to blindness. In experiments that suppressed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the eye, researchers were able to re-establish normal blood flow in the retina, offering a potential means of stalling or even reversing diabetes-related blindness. […]

  • A phospholipid pathway from plants to parasites
    on December 29, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Recent findings may aid in the development of therapies to treat parasitic infections, including malaria, and may help plant scientists one day produce hardier crops. […]

  • Ebola virus inhibited
    on December 29, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    The incurable Ebola virus has long been feared due to its high mortality rate and danger of infection. Now researchers have succeeded in inhibiting the virus in cell cultures. The researchers hope to be able to continue doing animal testing and developing an actual drug. […]

  • Wheat disease breakthrough to help feed the world
    on December 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Famine may be largely a thing of the past but in recent years the re-emergence of a disease that can kill wheat -- which provides a fifth of humanity's food -- has threatened food security; now a wheat stem rust breakthrough is being announced. […]

  • Plant defense following the iron-maiden principle
    on December 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Calcium phosphate is a typical component of animal teeth. It has recently been shown that plants of the rock nettle family also use this very hard mineral in their 'teeth.' […]

  • No rest for weary canola plants
    on December 20, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Plants don't sleep like humans do -- but just like some people don't rest well in the heat, some plants don't either. The canola plant isn't as productive if the temperature is high at nighttime, and scientists are trying to find out why. […]

  • How plants form their seeds
    on December 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Vegetable, fruit, or grain -- the majority of our food results from plant reproduction. Researchers have now discovered the key to how plants regulate pollen growth and seed formation. In addition to seed formation, knowledge about these signaling pathways can be used to influence plant growth or their defense against pests. […]

  • Isolating blood-feeding and non-biting genes in mosquitoes
    on December 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Researchers have taken the first step on a path that eventually could result in female mosquitoes that no longer bite and spread diseases. A nine-member team of scientists at five institutions methodically sorted out 902 genes related to blood feeding and 478 genes linked to non-blood feeding from the mosquito Wyeomyia smithii. […]

  • Committed to relatives: Hounds and wolves share their parasites
    on December 15, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Grey wolves, as all wild animals, are hosts to a variety of parasites. The presence of grey wolves in German forests has little influence on the parasite burden of hunting dogs, according to a new study. […]

  • Potato blight’s chemical attack mechanism explained
    on December 15, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Researchers have deciphered the workings of a cytolytic toxin, which is produced by some of the world’s most devastating crop diseases. The Cytolysin is manufactured by pathogens such as bacteria and fungi and can wipe out entire harvests if chemical protection is not used. […]

  • Ancient feces reveal parasites described in earliest Greek medical texts
    on December 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Earliest archaeological evidence of intestinal parasitic worms infecting the ancient inhabitants of Greece confirms descriptions found in writings associated with Hippocrates, the early physician and 'father of Western medicine.' […]

  • Researchers shine a spotlight on illegal wild orchid trade
    on December 14, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    Large-scale commercial trade of wild orchids is a pressing, but little-recognized conservation problem, according to researchers. […]

  • Monkeys infected by mosquito bites further Zika virus research
    on December 13, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Monkeys who catch Zika virus through bites from infected mosquitoes develop infections that look like human Zika cases, and may help researchers understand the many ways Zika can be transmitted. […]