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Top Story

Biologists create beetle with functional extra eye

On "Game of Thrones," a three-eyed raven holds the secrets of the past, present and future in a vast fantasy kingdom. But for real-world biologists, a "three-eyed beetle" may offer a true glimpse into the future of studying evolutionary development. Using a simple genetic tool, scientists have intentionally grown a fully functional extra eye in the center of the forehead of the common beetle. Unraveling the biological mechanisms behind this occurrence could help researchers understand how evolution draws upon preexisting developmental and genetic "building blocks" to create novel complex traits, or "old" traits in novel places. As a consequence, the evolution of novel features often requires many fewer genetic changes than biologists originally thought.

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