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The fascinating strangeness of nature

Drones are attract by the scent of an orchid and the fruit fly, if deprived of a gene, becomes gay

The complex scent of orchids is fascinating for humans; orchids are one of the most appreciated floral gift. The news is that drones are attracted by this flower, as well; in particular it is fascinated by the scent of the orchid Ophrys Esaltata.

As a matter of fact, a group of researched of the Zurig University, starting from this observation, found that the scent of this orchid is extremely similar to the pheromone mix produced by fifteen different kinds of bees. This trick allows the flower to be pollinated by the male, that mistake the orchid for the insect. Mating with a bee external to its origin population is a strategy for improving the genetic variability. The researchers demonstrated that the male prefers a queen bee of a foreign population in respect to its own population bee in the 50% of cases.

If a gene of fruit flies is removed, it shows homosexual tendencies.

The discovery was published on the “Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences” by Manyuan Long, professor of Ecology and Evolution at the Chicago University.

The gene is called Sphinx and, whenever removed, the males of the species Drosophila Melanogaster court other males. Among other fly species the inter-male courtship is not rare, but this is not the case in Drosophila Melanogaster. So, once found the gene Sphinx in the Drosophila Melanogaster DNA but not in other fly DNA, deep studies lead to the discovery that the inactivation of Sphinx was able to induce males to court males and not females.

by Ernesto Vania
03 august 2009, Food & Fun > Nature