Navigation Links
Capacity for exercise can be inherited, UC Riverside biologists find

RIVERSIDE, Calif. Biologists at the University of California, Riverside have found that voluntary activity, such as daily exercise, is a highly heritable trait that can be passed down genetically to successive generations.

Working on mice in the lab, they found that activity level can be enhanced with "selective breeding" the process of breeding plants and animals for particular genetic traits. Their experiments showed that mice that were bred to be high runners produced high-running offspring, indicating that the offspring had inherited the trait for activity.

"Our findings have implications for human health," said Theodore Garland Jr., a professor of biology, whose laboratory conducted the multi-year research. "Down the road people could be treated pharmacologically for low activity levels through drugs that targeted specific genes that promote activity. Pharmacological interventions in the future could make it more pleasurable for people to engage in voluntary exercise. Such interventions could also make it less comfortable for people to sit still for long periods of time."

In humans, activity levels vary widely from couch-potato-style inactivity to highly active athletic endeavors.

"We have a huge epidemic of obesity in Western society, and yet we have little understanding of what determines variation among individuals for voluntary exercise levels," Garland said.

Study results appear online Sept. 1 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The researchers began their experiments in 1993 with 224 mice whose levels of genetic variation bore similarity to those seen in wild mouse populations. The researchers randomly divided the base population of mice into eight separate lines four lines bred for high levels of daily running, with the remaining four used as controls and measured how much distance the mice voluntarily ran per day on wheels attached to their cages.

With a thousand mice born every generation and four generations of mice each year, the researchers were able to breed highly active mice in the four high-runner lines by selecting the highest running males and females from every generation to be the parents of the next generation. In the control lines, breeders were chosen with no selection imposed, meaning that the mice either changed or did not change over time purely as a result of random genetic drift.

By studying the differences among the replicate lines, the researchers found that mice in the four high-runner lines ran 2.5-3-fold more revolutions per day as compared with mice in the four control lines. They also found that female and male mice evolved differently: females increased their daily running distance almost entirely by speed; males, on the other hand, increased speed but they also ran more minutes per day.

The study is an example of an "experimental evolution" approach applied rigorously to a problem of biomedical relevance. Although this approach is common with microbial systems and fruit flies, it has rarely been applied to vertebrates due to their longer generation times and greater costs of maintenance. The results of such studies can inform biologists about fundamental evolutionary processes as well as "how organisms work" in a way that may lead to new therapeutic strategies.

"This study of experimental evolution confirms some previous observations and raises new questions," said Douglas Futuyma, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolution at Stony Brook University, New York, who was not involved in the research. "It shows that 'there are many ways to skin a cat': different ways in which a species may evolve a similar adaptive characteristic running activity, in this case. Garland and coauthors go further by beginning to explore the detailed ways in which an adaptive feature, such as muscle size or metabolic rate, may be realized and by showing sex differences in the response to selection. It would be fascinating to know, and challenging to find out, if any one of these different responses is adaptively better than others."


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

Related biology news :

1. Traits produced by melanin may signal the bearers capacity to combat free radicals
2. Embryonic heart exhibits impressive regenerative capacity
3. Rural areas able to increase screening capacity for colorectal cancer
4. URI receives $18 million grant to strengthen biomedical research capacity in Rhode Island
5. High-tech vehicle design boosts emergency rescue capacity
6. NICS to add more than 300 Teraflops to the NSF’s computing capacity
7. For insulin sensitive overweight patients, 1 session of exercise improves metabolic health
8. During exercise, the human brain shifts into high gear on alternative energy
9. Recommendations for childrens exercise lacking say experts
10. Study may explain exercise-induced fatigue in muscular dystrophies
11. Previous abortions and exercise: Do they affect pregnancy?
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Capacity for exercise can be inherited, UC Riverside biologists find
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... solutions, today announced broader entry into the automotive market ... that match the pace of consumer electronics human interface ... sensors are ideal for the automotive industry and will ... Europe , Japan ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... LA JOLLA, Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... released a new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: ... how well the Department of Health and Human Services ... was issued in 2010. --> ... advances, but it also has the potential to pose ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... October 29, 2015 NXTD ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and ... Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday ... or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 The Global Genomics ... professional and in-depth study on the current state ... ) , The report ... definitions, classifications, applications and industry chain structure. The ... markets including development trends, competitive landscape analysis, and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... in New York on Wednesday, December 2 ... Torley , president and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. ... York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . ... relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> th ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Clintrax Global, Inc., a worldwide provider of clinical research services headquartered ... the company has set a new quarterly earnings record in Q3 ... posted for Q3 of 2014 to Q3 of 2015.   ... , with the establishment of an Asia-Pacific ... United Kingdom and Mexico , with ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... New York , November 24, 2015 ... to a recent market research report released by Transparency ... projected to expand at a CAGR of 17.5% during ... "Non-invasive Prenatal Testing Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, ... estimates the global non-invasive prenatal testing market to reach ...
Breaking Biology Technology: