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Can the molecular biology of flies serve as an indicator for the health of the environment around them? Insects around the world can give insights into how the area around them operates.

Press play to learn:

  • How an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico affected Louisiana’s ecosystem
  • If the microbiome inside a fly can hint at the health of the animals that they feed on
  • Why horseflies were chosen to gauge the health of the ecosystem

Claudia Husseneder, professor of urban entomology at LSU, drops by to share her experience working around the world studying population genetics and how it impacts the area around them.

Using the principles of epigenetics, traits passed down in horsefly populations can give hints about their surroundings. The population decrease of flies in affected areas of the oil spill leads to the conclusion that part of the ecosystem has been negatively impacted, causing it not to sustain as large of a population.

If genetic diversity in a population is reduced, new and rare genetic variants are taken out of the future’s hereditary pool. Population genetics applications can explain not only this but why it can spell disaster for the area around them.

For more information, visit https://www.lsu.edu/entomology/.

Episode also available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/30PvU9C

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