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A biodiversity discovery that was waiting in the wings -- wasp wings, that is
Date:2/24/2012

wing size-changes, and these changes may have occurred incrementally. "It is possible that the diversity of size and shape differences between other animal species have similar origins in regulator DNA. And the gene we identified is thought to control growth in many other animals, including people."

The researchers suspect that the small winged Nasonia species evolved from the big-winged species, but it is also possible that the two species evolved in the opposite order.

"Understanding the types of changes in DNA that are responsible for evolution is critical to unraveling the causes of life's diversity," says Samuel Scheiner, a program director at NSF. "The recent explosion of new tools for DNA sequencing is now allowing this understanding. This study demonstrates that changes in gene regulation can be important for such evolution."

The two studied species of Nasonia wasps were chosen for this research because their close genetic relationship coupled with the large difference in their wing sizes makes genetic comparisons between them particularly easy. Nasonia wasps have become a model system for studying evolution because their genetics and breeding system simplify the identification of genetic changes behind complex traits.


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Contact: Lily Whiteman
lwhitema@nsf.gov
703-292-8310
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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