This female Nasonia wasp is stinging a fly pupal host and laying eggs within it. The offspring will emerge two weeks later and will subsequently hatch and kill the host creature. Scientists have mapped the genomes for three species of parasitic wasps in the Nasonia genus. Published in the Jan. 15, 2010 issue of Science, the availability of these genome sequences will aid the analysis of complex genetic traits, such as skin color, as well as complex human diseases. They may also advance our understanding of how to use these wasps as natural agents against agricultural pests and disease-carrying insects.
Photo by Peter Koomen and Mathijs Zwier courtesy of Leo Beukeboom (Evolutionary Genetics, University of Groningen, The Netherlands)