Cocktail Chatter: The Mighty Flea and the Environment

Susan Sermoneta

After 10 years of study scientists have found that the water flea holds more genes than any organism–including humans. The flea actually has approximately 8,000 more genes than us. Water fleas are extremely sensitive to changes in the environment so scientists hope this information will reveal which of its genes reacts  to which substances in the environment–making the flea a vital indicator of environmental damage. “You don’t have to wait for the whole ecosystem to show there’s something wrong,” said study author Johm Colbourne. “You simply ask a vitally important component of that ecosystem, ‘Hey how are you doing?'”

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