mosaic insect

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Chemera and Mosaic Insects Part 2-Butterflies and Moths

A chimera (also spelled chimaera) (from the creature Chimera in Greek mythology) is a single organism composed of cells from different zygotes. This can result in male and female organs, two blood types, or subtle variations in form. Animal chimeras are produced by the merger of multiple fertilized eggs.  If the different cells have emerged from the same zygote, the organism is called a mosaic. Chimeras are formed from at least four parent cells (two fertilised eggs or early embryos fused together). Each population of cells keeps its own character and the resulting organism is a mixture of tissues. Chimeras can often breed, but the fertility and type of offspring depends on which cell line gave rise to the ovaries or testes; varying degrees of intersex differences may result if one set of cells is genetically female and another genetically male. A gynandromorph is an organism that contains both male and female characteristics, authorities say. The term gynandromorph, from Greek “gyne” female and “andro” male, is mainly used in the field of entomology, though it has also been observed in arthropods and birds as well. Another way that chimærism can occur in animals is by organ transplantation, giving one individual tissues that developed from two genomes. For example, a bone marrow transplant can change someone’s blood type. Normally, chimærism is not visible on casual inspection; however, it has been detected in the course of proving parentage and may be more common than was believed before the advent of DNA testing.

Lovely Grub: Are Insects The Future Of Food?

by Emily Anthes, Mosaic Science

At first my meal seems familiar, like countless other dishes I’ve eaten at Asian restaurants. A swirl of noodles slicked with oil and studded with shredded chicken, the aroma of ginger and garlic, a few wilting chives placed on the plate as a final flourish. And then, I notice the eyes. Dark, compound orbs on a yellow speckled head, joined to a winged, segmented body. I hadn’t spotted them right away, but suddenly I see them everywhere – my noodles are teeming with insects.

I can’t say I wasn’t warned. On this warm May afternoon, I’ve agreed to be a guinea pig at an experimental insect tasting in Wageningen, a university town in the central Netherlands. My hosts are Ben Reade and Josh Evans from the Nordic Food Lab, a non-profit culinary research institute. Reade and Evans lead the lab’s ‘insect deliciousness’ project, a three-year effort to turn insects – the creepy-crawlies that most of us squash without a second thought – into tasty, craveable treats.

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