Wednesday, 15 January 2014

And That Is How the Desert Locust Lost Its Memory

Jan. 14, 2014 — The desert locust (a type of grasshopper), much like Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde, goes from being an innocuous solitary-living individual to become a voracious gregarious animal that destroys everything on its path (and back). These two very different "personas" are remarkable adaptations of a single genome to distinct environments. But apparently, this flexibility is even more impressive says Patricio Simōes, Jeremy Niven and Swidbert Ott from the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência in Portugal and the University of Cambridge, as they reveal that the locust' solitarious and gregarious forms also have different memory and learning abilities to suit the needs of the two life stages.

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