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Bug Roundup

October 20, 2006

Worms could soon be part of a well-rounded diet.


Worms: Good, and so good for you. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Compounds called Conjugated Lineolic Acids, or CLAs, help prevent cancer, fight infections, treat diabetes—and even help you drop extra pounds. But attempts to create meat and eggs high in CLAs have failed. So now researchers at Ohio State University and in South Korea have turned to silkworms. Silkworms fed CLAs store lots of them in their fat—making them a very healthy snack. And though you may not have eaten silkworms recently, powdered silkworm is a common dietary supplement in Asia.

In other bug news, researchers at Johns Hopkins are looking closely at the mosquito’s immune system, with the goal of making it better able to fight off infections. But it’s not mosquito health they’re worried about. Mosquitoes that could fight off malaria parasites would be a valuable weapon against the disease in humans.

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.