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Yeast migration

Daniel BuenoA rare yeast species may further the understanding of the global dispersal of microorganisms by human beings. Saccharomycopsis fodiens was isolated from the nectar of a flower visited by beetles of the nitidulid family, a species that exists all over the world. The yeast, however, was identified in only three places (Australia, Costa Rica and the Galapagos Islands) by researchers from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), from Western University in Canada, and from the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador. Other yeast species are found in beetles all over the world. The researchers believe that the existence of this yeast in places that are so far from each other is related to human dispersal. The places where the S. fodiens was found might be explained by a hypothesis that the ancient Polynesians migrated to the south, to Taiwan, to the east, to the Pacific Islands, and then possibly to South America, taking with them sweet potato plants whose flowers attract beetles and shelter yeasts. The authors of the dispersal hypothesis are Ecuadorian researchers Enrique Javier Carvajal and Patricia Portero. The research study was headed by Canada’s Marc-André Lachance, and included Carvajal, Brazilian researchers Carlos Rosa and Larissa Freitas and Canadian Jane Bowles (International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology, June 2012).