TU biology professor Dr. Warren Booth has garnered national recognition for his work on a bedbug study, in collaboration with many other researchers of various nationalities.
Booth co-authored the study, which found its way into “Molecular Ecology” and also was subject of a column by Carl Zimmer, a science writer for the New York Times.
Dr. Warren Booth’s study on the difference in bedbug lineages has shed light on the evolutionary process.
“The study basically shows that there are two distinct lineages of bed bugs within Europe,” said Booth. “It has long been proposed that bed bugs we find today infesting human properties have evolved from the ectoparasites of cave dwelling mammals, such as bats. Here, the genetic data supports that they simply diverged from bat-associated bed bugs, likely when humans left shared cave domiciles.”
Bedbugs have garnered a lot of attention from researchers in recent years, especially since their resurgence after the widespread use of the pesticide DDT.
Booth collaborated with several scientists around the globe, including those at the University of Helsinki (Finland) and Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic).
“Well, given the worldwide interest in bed bugs and the broad evolutionary implications of this study, I was not surprised to see some level of global media interest,” said Booth.
“When Carl Zimmer (a renowned popular science writer) called, this was the icing on the cake.”
Dr. Booth’s other ongoing projects can be seen at www.booth-lab.org.