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Enzyme of bacterial origin promoted the evolution of longhorned beetles

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Larvae of longhorned beetles develop primarily in woody tissue, which is difficult for most organisms to digest. However, longhorned beetle larvae possess special enzymes to break down the various components of the plant cell wall. Researchers have now taken a closer look at a group of digestive enzymes found only in this beetle family. They resurrected the primordial enzymes, which first appeared in a common ancestor of longhorned beetles. Horizontal gene transfer from bacteria to the beetle as well as ancient and recent gene duplications promoted the evolution of this family of digestive enzymes and enabled longhorned beetles to degrade the main components of the plant cell wall, which make the bulk of their diet.


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