Genetic Archaeology
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  About |  Newsletter |  Submit News |  Links |  Subscribe to GeneticArchaeology.com RSS Fee Subscribe


More Articles
Researchers block plant hormoneResearchers block plant hormone

Sequencing at seaSequencing at sea

Study reveals immune system is dazed and confused during spaceflightStudy reveals immune system is dazed and confused during spaceflight

800 meters beneath Antarctic ice sheet, subglacial lake holds viable microbial ecosystems800 meters beneath Antarctic ice sheet, subglacial lake holds viable microbial ecosystems

A breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopyA breakthrough in imaging gold nanoparticles to atomic resolution by electron microscopy

Bombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big DataBombarded by explosive waves of information, scientists review new ways to process and analyze Big Data

Key to speed? Elite sprinters are unlike other athletes -- deliver forceful punch to groundKey to speed? Elite sprinters are unlike other athletes -- deliver forceful punch to ground

Study: Earth can sustain more terrestrial plant growth than previously thoughtStudy: Earth can sustain more terrestrial plant growth than previously thought

Hot-spring bacteria reveal ability to use far-red light for photosynthesisHot-spring bacteria reveal ability to use far-red light for photosynthesis

Proteins: New class of materials discoveredProteins: New class of materials discovered

Abusive leadership infects entire teamAbusive leadership infects entire team

Stem cells reveal how illness-linked genetic variation affects neuronsStem cells reveal how illness-linked genetic variation affects neurons

Zombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colonyZombie ant fungi manipulate hosts to die on the 'doorstep' of the colony

Study suggests hatha yoga boosts brain function in older adultsStudy suggests hatha yoga boosts brain function in older adults

Program earns kudos for improving grades, retaining studentsProgram earns kudos for improving grades, retaining students

Common household chemicals decrease reproduction in mice, study findsCommon household chemicals decrease reproduction in mice, study finds

Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?Has the puzzle of rapid climate change in the last ice age been solved?

Lithium-based neutron detector named among Top 100 technologies of the yearLithium-based neutron detector named among Top 100 technologies of the year

A self-organizing thousand-robot swarmA self-organizing thousand-robot swarm

Diamonds are a quantum computer's best friendDiamonds are a quantum computer's best friend

Crash-testing rivetsCrash-testing rivets

Scientists discover the miracle of how geckos move, cling to ceilingsScientists discover the miracle of how geckos move, cling to ceilings

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birdsShrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds

A healthy lifestyle adds years to lifeA healthy lifestyle adds years to life

Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?Do probiotics help kids with stomach bugs?

Strict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of wormsStrict diet suspends development, doubles lifespan of worms

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Dogs, maybe not, but old genes can learn new tricks (5/12/2009)

Tags:
genes, beetles, insects
Two <I>Onthophagus taurus</I> males. Armin Moczek and Debra Rose's study suggests several genes involved in making legs and antennae were co-opted to make the beetles' horns. Horns are a novel trait that is unique to horned beetles. -  Alex Wild (http://www.myrmecos.net)
Two Onthophagus taurus males. Armin Moczek and Debra Rose's study suggests several genes involved in making legs and antennae were co-opted to make the beetles' horns. Horns are a novel trait that is unique to horned beetles. - Alex Wild (http://www.myrmecos.net)

A popular view among evolutionary biologists that fundamental genes do not acquire new functions was challenged this week by a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Indiana University Bloomington biologist Armin Moczek and research associate Debra Rose report that two ancient genes were "co-opted" to help build a new trait in beetles -- the fancy antlers that give horned beetles their name. The genes, Distal-less and homothorax, touch most aspects of insect larval development, and have therefore been considered off-limits to the evolution of new traits.

In the two horned beetle species Moczek and Rose studied, the genetic sequences of Distal-less and homothorax were hardly different, suggesting the two genes have retained their unique identities because of selective pressures not to change. What changed was not the genes themselves, but when and where they are turned on.

"Evolutionary biologists have a good idea of what it takes to change the shape of a wing, the length of a leg, or the anatomy of an eye," Moczek said. "What we have struggled with, though, is how these traits originate in the first place. How do you evolve that first wing, limb or photoreceptor from a flightless, limbless and blind ancestor?"

To investigate these questions, Moczek and Rose examined three development genes that are so old, all insects have them: Distal-less, homothorax and a third, dachshund. The genes were first characterized in fruit flies, and are categorized as "upstream" regulatory genes because they influence a wide variety of genetic processes in insect cells, such as the development of legs, antennae and wings. Moczek said that in horned beetles, each of the three genes is likely to have hundreds to thousands of downstream targets.

A tenuous consensus among evolutionary biologists was that such genes -- upon which so many different and important processes depend -- could not be easily modified, because any modification would affect countless aspects of the insect's development, any one of which could be bad for the individual insect, reducing its fitness relative to its peers.

Moczek and Rose's PNAS paper confirms one aspect of this idea. All three genes were sequenced and found to be highly conserved, or unchanged, not only among the individuals of each beetle species they examined, but also between the two species, Onthophagus taurus (Italy) and Onthophagus binodis (South Africa), whose lineages diverged about 24 million years ago. But that isn't the whole story.

To understand the effects of the three genes on horned beetle development, Moczek and Rose employed a new and promising technique, RNA interference, which disables the action of specific genes without compromising other genetic processes. Humans are only mimicking nature here; RNA interference is also a natural method of gene regulation in eukaryotes.

Moczek and Rose divided beetle larvae of both species into three treatment groups: no injection, buffer injection with nonsense RNA and buffer injection with RNA interference transcripts designed to disrupt one of three crucial developmental genes.

Moczek and Rose learned that two of the three genes, Distal-less and homothorax, are used by both O. taurus and O. binodis in the development of beetle horns. While Distal-less was found to affect both the development of thorax horns (which form just behind the head) and head horns, homothorax was only found to influence thorax horn development. The gene dachshund appears to have no effect whatsoever on horn development in either species.

"The evolution of novel features does not require the evolution of novel genes," Moczek said. "A lot of innovation can grow from within the organism's genetic toolbox."

More importantly, Moczek and Rose learned all developmental genes are candidates for such recruitment, not just the genes whose development functions are considered non-essential or limited in their effects.

Moczek also says the PNAS paper may compel evolutionary biologists to revisit pleiotropy, the foundational concept of one gene influencing many traits.

"It may be that our understanding of pleiotropy is too simplistic," Moczek said. "Now that we know fundamental development genes can acquire new and diverse functions with relative ease, pleiotropy may not be nearly as constraining as we have thought."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the Indiana University

Post Comments:

Search

New Articles
Evolutionary history of honeybees revealed by genomicsEvolutionary history of honeybees revealed by genomics

Canola genome sequence reveals evolutionary 'love triangle'

500 million year reset for the immune system500 million year reset for the immune system

8,000-year-old mutation key to human life at high altitudes8,000-year-old mutation key to human life at high altitudes

Our ancestor's 'leaky' membrane answers big questions in biologyOur ancestor's 'leaky' membrane answers big questions in biology

Researcher sees survival story in Antarctic fly's small genomeResearcher sees survival story in Antarctic fly's small genome

Study traces evolutionary origins of migration in New World birds

Study advances 'DNA revolution,' tells butterflies' evolutionary historyStudy advances 'DNA revolution,' tells butterflies' evolutionary history

Analysis of the iceman mummy suggests genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis

Prehistoric dairy farming at the extremes

Mixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birdsMixed genes mix up the migrations of hybrid birds

Ancient genetic material from caries bacterium obtained for the first timeAncient genetic material from caries bacterium obtained for the first time

Marmoset sequence sheds new light on primate biology and evolutionMarmoset sequence sheds new light on primate biology and evolution

Untangling spider's webs

Oetzi's 'non-human' DNA



Archives
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
June 2005
October 2004
July 2001


Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetics News
Geology News
Microbiology Research
Nanotech News
Parenting News
Physics News


  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2015 Web Doodle, LLC. All rights reserved.