How roaches developed disgust at first bite

A change in taste cells makes glucose-baited traps repellent

By Susan Milius, 16:00 PM May 23, 2013

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Cockroaches that don’t fall for traps’ sweet poisons have evolved taste cells that register sugar as bitter.

In certain groups of the widespread German cockroach (Blattella germanica), nerve cells that normally detect bitter, potentially toxic compounds now also respond to glucose, says entomologist Coby Schal of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. The “bitter” reaction suppresses the “sweet” response from other nerve cells, and the roach stops eating, Schal and his coll...

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