Navigation Links
2-timing and hybrids: RUB researchers look back on 100 million years of evolution
Date:1/17/2012

Two-timing is nothing out of the ordinary for them: for about 100 million years, grass smut fungi have been breeding in a three-gender system. This was discovered by Dr. Ronny Kellner and Prof. Dr. Dominik Begerow of the RUB Geobotany Laboratory in cooperation with colleagues from the Heinrich Heine Universitt in Dsseldorf. Using genetic analysis, they showed that the structure of the responsible regions in the genome has hardly changed since then. In the journal PLoS Genetics, the team also reports that the fungi in the experiment not only mate within their own species, but also form hybrids with other species and that after millions of years of separate evolution. "If you look at the time periods, it is almost as if mice could mate with humans" Begerow illustrates.

Gathering and genetically analysing fungi

Grass smut fungi live as parasites on plants such as corn, wheat, and grasses and cause various plant diseases. For the study, the researchers tested 100 species, which they partly gathered themselves in Ecuador, Mexico, or Germany. For all the species they decoded the area of the genome that contains the genes for pheromone receptors. These make it possible to distinguish one's own species from others. "What makes the work special is the successful synthesis of biodiversity research and functional genetics, which was made possible by the collaboration with Prof. Michael Feldbrgge and with Dr. Evelyn Vollmeister of the University in Dsseldorf" says Kellner.

How genes change over 100 million years

The researchers analysed ten species especially thoroughly using complex sequencing technologies. Instead of the usual 1,000 DNA building blocks (base pairs), they sequenced 20,000 base pairs. "In this way, we were able to gain entirely new insights" explained Begerow. "Although the actual gene structure has changed little in the last 100 million years, within the structure, the genetic information has changed dramatically. That should really mean that different species can no longer mate with each other".

Mixing with other species

Nevertheless, in the experiment the team proved that grass smut fungi of different species can mate. Now they want to investigate whether this phenomenon also occurs in nature. "This is a fascinating discovery", says Kellner. "The hybrid formation would have far-reaching ecological consequences." A new species of fungus could, for example, be more harmful than its two predecessor species because it infests several different host plants. Leaps to new hosts would also be conceivable. "It's like in the current debate surrounding the bird flu virus, which could combine with another strain of the virus" explained Begerow. "Here, new 'super parasites' could emerge whose properties are completely unpredictable. If different species of fungi did actually mate, that would speed up evolution enormously."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Dominik Begerow
dominik.begerow@rub.de
49-234-322-7212
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Liposome-hydrogel hybrids: No toil, no trouble for stronger bubbles
2. NC State researchers get to root of parasite genome
3. Researchers find animal with ability to survive climate change
4. Researchers find an essential gene for forming ears of corn
5. Researchers note differences between people and animals on calorie restriction
6. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
7. Researchers discover that growing up too fast may mean dying young in honey bees
8. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
9. UI researchers find potentially toxic substance present in Chicago air
10. Researchers develop new self-training gene prediction program for fungi
11. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, ... security technology company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. ... to its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate ... ... NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and benefiting from ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... --  EyeLock LLC , a leader of iris-based identity ... and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. Patent No. ... iris image with a face image acquired in sequence ... th issued patent. "The issuance ... multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come to market ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/28/2017)... ... June 28, 2017 , ... Ovation Fertility continues ... for presentation at the 33rd Annual Meeting of the European Society of ... the world’s top thought leaders in reproductive medicine – are expected to attend ...
(Date:6/28/2017)... ... June 28, 2017 , ... Supplies of the critical medical isotope molybdenum-99 ... the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) 2017 annual meeting in Denver, ... used in 30 to 40 million nuclear medicine procedures worldwide every year. (1) ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... June 27, 2017 , ... Brain State Technologies, ... Kickstarter campaign on June 15th to fund production of the new B2v2 wearable ... original Kickstarter goal by more than 150% in a little over a week. ...
(Date:6/27/2017)... ... June 27, 2017 , ... Indiana-based ... GX-1 yeast production and fermentation process. The efficiencies created by the newest ... technologies, most notably the ethanol industry wherein individual production plants are planning to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: