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Chronicling a war of beetle vs. leaf

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10:02am, November 12, 2003

A rare meshing of family trees may reveal an ancient arms race between plants that deploy poisons and the beetles that deploy metabolic or behavioral countermeasures so they can eat the leaves anyway.

It's been tricky to find evidence that such ploys coevolved in any species of plants and their pests, says Judith X. Becerra of the University of Arizona in Tucson. That's because it's necessary to determine that both sides in a presumed arms race rolled out a weapon and countermeasure at the same time in evolutionary history.

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