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A tale of survival
Date:5/13/2014

kills them for sure.

Molecular mechanisms of adaptation to extreme habitat

"In this paper we analyse the key adaptation to an extreme habitat up to its mo-lecular basis at the level of amino acids. This way, for the first time, we are able to point out, where exactly the adaption has taken place." Pfenninger concludes. The team also modelled three dimensional protein structures in order to shed light on necessary significant structural changes of amino acids in the cox1 gene. Without these structural changes, the colonisation of the H2S-containing water for the fish would have been impossible. By colonising the poisonous springs, where there are hardly any other competitors, the fish may feed on resistant midge larvae that also occur there.

Closely related fish follow different paths to adaptation

The study also shows that closely related populations of a species follow parallel as well as disparate paths in response to similar environmental conditions. Three shortfin molly fish populations were sampled for study. Two of the populations show the same changes in their genetic material in adapting to the hostile conditions. However this proved to be not the case for the third population of shortfin molly fish. Whereas these fish also tolerate high levels hydrogen sulphide, the mechanism enabling their adaptation is still subject to ongoing research.


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Contact: Dr. Markus Pfenninger
Pfenninger@bio.uni-frankfurt.de
49-697-542-1841
Goethe University Frankfurt
Source:Eurekalert

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