Battle of the bedbugs 與臭蟲鬥爭

更新時間 2013年 3月 15日, 星期五 - 格林尼治標準時間15:53

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Bedbugs

Could there be an end to bedbugs?

科學家可能已找到對付臭蟲(又稱床虱)的辦法。這類昆蟲非常難控制,不過近期的科研結果有希望幫助科學家們研製出一系列新的、更有效的控制這一害蟲的方法。請聽來自 BBC Rebecca Morelle 的報道:

They feast on our blood while we sleep - leaving itchy, red welts as their calling card. Bedbugs are an insect that many would like to see the back of. But in North America, Europe and Australia, infestations are on the rise - and our insecticides are losing their bite.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky in the US have found 14 genes associated with resistance to these chemicals. They're causing a number of biological changes in the bedbugs. These include the development of a thicker skin that stops the poisons from penetrating and mutations within the insects' bodies that prevent the toxins from hitting the nervous system.

The genes linked to these changes are active in the insect's tough outer shell - creating a formidable first line of defence. These findings could help scientists to develop new insecticides that could either turn these genes off or bypass the pest's molecular shields.

But until these substances are developed, exterminators are having to resort to more primitive tactics.

Quiz 聽力測驗

True or False? The number of bedbugs is rising in North America, Europe and Australia.

True. Infestations are on the rise in North America, Europe and Australia.

True or False? Researchers in the US found 14 genes inside bedbugs that are resistant to insecticides.

True. Researchers at the University of Kentucky in the US have found 14 genes associated with resistance to the insecticides.

Which biological changes are caused by the 14 insecticide-resistant genes found in the bedbugs?

The changes include the development of a thicker skin that stops the poisons from penetrating and mutations within the insects' bodies that prevent the toxins from hitting the nervous system.

Why do bedbugs have a formidable first line of defence?

Because the genes linked to the biological changes are active in the insect's tough outer shell.

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