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BYU Student Catches Crickets to Map Genes

BYU Student Catches Crickets to Map Genes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Researchers at Brigham Young University have mapped the gene sequence of one of Utah's most notorious pests: the Mormon cricket.

Legend has it the crickets nearly destroyed the crops of Mormon settlers in the Salt Lake Valley. According to lore California gulls swooped down eating the crickets and saving the crops.

The bugs are still a yearly nuisance for farmers and ranchers in Utah and Nevada.

Michael Whiting, a biology professor at the school, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the school is the obvious choice for studying the bugs. But he says researchers are interested in the bugs not just because they're legendary here. He says they're an important pest species.

The bugs are known for swarming in mass numbers and eating anything that gets in their path, even each other.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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