Navigation Links
Genes from the father facilitate the formation of new species

The two closely related bird species, the collared flycatcher and the pied flycatcher, can reproduce with each other, but the females are more strongly attracted to a male of their own species. This has been shown by an international research team directed by Anna Qvarnstrm at Uppsala University in todays Net edition of Science. They demonstrate that the gene for this sexual preference is found on the sex chromosome that is inherited from the father and that only females have a copy of. The discovery sheds new light on how new species are formed.

The formation of new species takes millions of years. It often happens when a population (group of individuals) is divided and separated geographically and then adapts to disparate environments over thousands of generations. For instance, the earths ice ages have led to many such population splits. But divided populations often come into contact with each other before they have had time to become entirely sexually isolated from each other. When individuals mate with each other from such split populations that have not quite become separate species, their offspring (so-called hybrids) often have limited viability.

Anna Qvarnstrms research team from Uppsala University in Sweden, working with scientists from Norway, the Czech Republic, the US, and Holland, have studied natural hybridization between two closely related bird species, the collared flycatcher and the pied flycatcher. The two flycatcher species (or quasi species) have come into contact with each other after having been separated during the last ice age. The question they addressed was whether the flycatchers will conclude the species formation that is under way and become entirely sexually isolated from each other or, instead, if they will meld into the same species again.

We found that females in the hybrid zone develop a sexual preference for males belonging to their own species and that this preference is determined by genes located on the sex chromosome, says Anna Qvarnstrm.

In birds, in contrast with most other animals, it is the females that are the so-called heterogametic sex. Their sex chromosomes are called ZW and correspond to XY in humans. In birds, it is the female that is ZW and the male ZZ, but in humans men are XY and women XX. The results show that the preference for their own species is sited on the sex chromosome that the females inherit from their father. The same chromosome also houses the genes that govern the development of the species-specific plumage.

When genes regulate species-specific features and the preference for these are located close to each other in the DNA, in this case on the same chromosome, species formation is favored. Therefore, the probability of these two flycatcher species merging into the same species again is small, says Anna Qvarnstrm.

It is possible that this will prove to be a general pattern that can explain how new species can continue to exist even if they occasionally hybridize with each other.


Contact: Anna Qvarnstrm
Uppsala University

Related biology news :

1. Genes In The Interferon System Important In Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
2. Newly-discovered class of genes determines ?and restricts ?stem cell fate
3. Inexpensive, mass-produced genes core of synthetic biology advances at UH
4. Protein Packages Found To Activate Genes; May Be What Regulates Development And Disease
5. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
6. U-M scientists find genes that control growth of common skin cancer
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Scientists document complex genomic events leading to the birth of new genes
9. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
10. Genrate: a generative model that finds and scores new genes and exons in genomic microarray data
11. Advances in the characterisation of the oyster mushroom genes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 ... au 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, ... la fois passeports et empreintes sur la même surface ... les passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , Nov. 12, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard for use ... chemical discovery information management tools. The partnership will ... share both biological and chemical research information internally ... tools will be used for managing the Institute,s ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 09, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Law Enforcement ... offering. --> ) has ... Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... Md. , Nov. 30, 2015 ... development company committed to the fostering and monetization ... the current and prospective initiatives designed to create ... Chief Executive Officer of Spherix. "Based on published ... future licensees exceeds $50 billion and Spherix will ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Champions Oncology, Inc. (CSBR), ... services to personalize the development and use of oncology ... Executive Officer, will be presenting at the LD MICRO ... Pacific Standard Time (PST).  The conference, held at the ... Angeles, CA , will feature 200 small/micro-cap companies ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 TapImmune, Inc. ... of innovative peptide and gene-based immunotherapeutics and vaccines for ... it will be presenting at the 8 th ... at 2.30 PM PT. Dr. John N. Bonfiglio ... be giving the presentation and will join TapImmune management ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Aytu BioScience, Inc. (OTCQB: ... and related conditions, will present at two upcoming investor ... an interactive real-time virtual conference, to be held December ... Conference, to be held December 2 nd & ... and streamed live via webcast. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: