What is the summary of the article "Changes in Taste Neurons Support the Emergence of an Adaptive Behavior in Cockroaches?"

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trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Cockroaches use hairy appendages near their mouths to sample various tastes to determine if they will feed or not. In the past, glucose-coated traps would lure cockroaches as the bait and insecticides would then kill them. Recently, these traps have proven to be much less effective. According to Ayako Wada-Katsumata and others at North Carolina State University working with German Cockroaches since the 1980's, they have noticed a behavioral change which is in fact an aversion to glucose. The glucose-averse roaches steer clear of the sugary coating on traps. Cockroaches rely on sensors on their mouths containing gustatory neurons (GRNs) which get activated when something is sweet and induce feeding, or ,when something is bitter, cause feeding to stop. In glucose - averse cockroaches, the researchers noticed that exposure to glucose suppressed the GRN response to feed on sugar and stimulated the bitter response which prevents the insect from feeding thus rendering the traps ineffective in these cockroaches. This is a unique mutation which resulted in the triggering of a bitter receptor in the presence of glucose which in fact, prevents the roaches from feeding and dying from the insecticide. This rapid evolution in response to the introduction of the sugar traps is beneficial to the survival of these insects.