Scent of a Species – in the news!

An apple fly in preparation for brain imaging.  (Photo courtesy of Shoot for Science: Deepak Kakara, Dinesh Yadav, Sukanya Olkar, and Parijat Sil)

The NICE Lab is proud to congratulate Cheyenne Tait and Hinal Kharva on their publication this past week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

As noted in the press release:

“One of the most fundamental questions in biology is how new species evolve, creating the vast biodiversity on our planet. Here, we present a story 160 years in the making, proposing how minor changes in the brain can lead to speciation.”

This study was a tri-continental effort between the National Centre for Biological Sciences, the University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology, University of Notre Dame, Free University Berlin, and Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology.

Starting with a discussion between Charles Darwin and his schoolmate, Benjamin Walsh, Cheyenne, Hinal and team demonstrated a reversal in sensory processing of key fruit odors in the apple fly, Rhagoletis pomonella. This sensory reversal corresponds to changes in host seeking behavior between apple and hawthorn fruit-specific races, contributing to their reproductive isolation, and ultimately, the birth of a new species.

To read more about this exciting new study, please see the following news articles:
Apple flies emerged from a simple change in the brain, by Chrissy Sexton,

Scent of a species: The origins of the apple fly,

Scent of a species, by Pavithra Ashok Kumar,

To read the original article, please see:

A reversal in sensory processing accompanies ongoing ecological divergence and speciation in Rhagoletis pomonella” in Proceedings of the Royal Society B,

Congratulations team!

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