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Photosynthesis-like process found in aphids

Photosynthesis-like process found in aphids

In the 17th August issue of Nature published news entitled, “Photosynthesis-like process found in insects”, Kathryn Lougheed reports the finding of Alain Robichon and his associates at the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute in Sophia Antipolis, France. They discovered that aphids may have a simple sunlight-harvesting system. According to them aphids, have carotenoids like pigments that can absorb energy from the Sun and transfer it to the cellular machinery involved in energy production. They observed that compared to white aphids green ones contain high levels of carotenoids, make significantly more ATP. Furthermore their research revealed that green aphids have the genes capable of producing caretenoids. Although it needs further confirmation, the results so far obtained seem to indicate that possibility. The question demanding an answer is that why aphids would need to photosynthesize. One of the assumptions propounded by one of the authors Capovilla is that a battery-like back-up will stand aphids in good stead in times of environmental stress, such as at the time of their migration to a new host plant.

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