Locust Upset: DNA puts swarmer's origin in Africa | Science News

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Locust Upset: DNA puts swarmer's origin in Africa

12:40pm, January 4, 2006

The desert locust, often blamed for modern crop ruin and biblical plagues, was not an ancient export from the Americas, say DNA analysts.

Some biologists had recently argued that Africa's storied locust arose from ancestors of today's New World Schistocerca species that crossed the Atlantic Ocean. That's backwards, Nathan R. Lovejoy of the University of Toronto at Scarborough now says.

Lovejoy and his colleagues used DNA sequences as the basis for a new family tree of the Schistocerca genus. Their analysis of that tree suggests that ancient locusts from Africa gave rise to the 50-or-so modern New World species, Lovejoy and his colleagues say in an upcomin

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