Thursday, 26 November 2015

Cobwebs Hold Genetic Secrets About Spiders and Their Prey

by Elizabeth Palermo, Associate Editor | November 25, 2015 02:09pm ET

You may want to think twice before vacuuming up any pesky cobwebs you find around your home — these messy spider lairs may contain valuable information (valuable to scientists, that is).

A spider's sticky web contains traces of the critter's DNA, as well as the DNA of whatever prey that was unlucky enough to get stuck in the web, according to a new study, which found that these tiny samples of DNA can be amplified and sequenced in a lab. In other words, an empty spider web isn't a mystery; it's a clue that can tell scientists what kind of spider built the web and what prey it snagged in its trap.

Knowing exactly which species of spider built a web in a certain area, as well as knowing what that spider feasted on, is important information for researchers in a variety of fields — from conservation ecology to pest management, said study lead author Charles C.Y. Xu, a graduate student in the Erasmus Mundus Master Programme (MEME) in evolutionary biology, a joint program hosted by four European universities and Harvard University in the United States.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails