These bugs regrow their muscles on demand

To save energy in winter, some beetles have developed a strategy of unparalleled efficiency. They let go of all their muscles. No big deal since they can regrow them without the slightest effort.

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To get through the winter, some animals adopt energy-saving measures.energy. Sometimes even quite drastic it seems, since work carried out at the Western University (Canada) reveal that some beetles, Colorado potato beetles – the main pests of potatoes -, may, during their hibernation period, destroying and then regrowing their muscles on demand. Enough to limit their energy needs to a strict minimum during the winter.

Everything happens on the side of mitochondria. Their essential role is to provide energy to the cells. In the human body, they degrade when they are not used, during a weightless flight, for example. And then it takes time and practice for them to reform. But the Colorado potato beetles seem able to make them grow back spontaneously – in order to be ready to take flight again when spring arrives.

An ability to explore

Looking closely, the researchers even observed that almost all the mitochondria of muscle cells of their beetles had simply disappeared. Diseases can cause this in men. And it is then extremely difficult to recover. But these funny beetles seem able to do it without the slightest effort.

“It’s completely unexpected. But it explains how beetles spend the winter then find themselves ready to fly away and mate in the first days of spring”comments Jackie Lebenzon, researcher, in a release of the Western University. It remains to be seen whether this ability exists in all insects. And how it could be harnessed to cure certain human diseases.

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