Monday, August 01, 2005

This heading is in poor taste ...

Grubs fight parasites with food

Scientists found the caterpillars' sense of taste actually changed when they became infected with parasites. Instead of avoiding certain alkaloid plants, the caterpillars actually developed a fondness for them. This change in diet helps to beat the creatures' parasite infection, the researchers report in Nature.

The finding is slightly unusual because often when animals change their behaviour following a parasitic infection, it is to the invaders' benefit

Why cats don't go for sweet foods

Now, scientists have discovered why cats prefer dining on meat and fish - they cannot detect sugary foods due to a defect in a key taste receptor gene.
Molecular analysis shows big cats also have the faulty gene, and this probably helped shape the evolution of their carnivorous behaviour.

The research is published in the journal known as PLoS Genetics.

It has been a mystery for years why domestic cats, along with lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars, dislike sweet-tasting foods

Pun intended.


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