Image of the Day: Minions of the Cicada 

Scientists study the unusual genome evolution of the bacteria that live within a genus of cicadas. 

Jan 9, 2018
The Scientist Staff, The Scientist Staff

A Chilean cicada of the Tettigades genus PIOTR LUKASIK The symbiotic bacteria living within the Chilean cicada genus Tettigades have some of the smallest genomes known of any life form. According to a new study, the microbes have lost up to 97 percent of their genes over the course of the past 70 million years, as well as the capability to inhabit any other kind of host. 

M.A. Campbell et al., “Idiosyncratic genome degradation in a bacterial endosymbiont of periodical cicadas,” Curr Biol, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.10.008, 2017. 

P. Łukasik et al., “Multiple origins of interdependent endosymbiotic complexes in a genus of cicadas,” PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.171232111, 2017.