Navigation Links
Hybridization partially restores vision in cavefish, NYU study finds

Hybridizing blind cave fish from different cave populations can partially restore the vision of their offspring, biologists at New York University have found. The study suggests that genetic engineering can override, at least in part, half a million years of evolutionary change in one generation.

Evolution has many ways to accomplish the same end result, which in the case of cave fish is blindness, said NYU Biology Professor Richard Borowsky, the studys lead author. For this reason, the genes that are mutated in one population that lead to blindness are different in other, independently evolved populations. Thus, when you cross them, the genetic deficiencies in one lineage are compensated for by strengths in the other, and vice-versa.

The research, supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, appears in the most recent issue of the journal Current Biology.

The study examined four populations of blind cave fish, Astyanax mexicanus, which inhabit different caves in northeast Mexico. Blind for millennia, these fish evolved from eyed, surface fish. The researchers genetic analysis showed that the evolutionary impairment of eye development, as well as the loss of pigmentation and other cave-related changes, resulted from mutations at multiple gene sites.

In order to gauge how genetic make-up could bring about the restoration of vision, the researchers created hybrids of the different cave fish populations. Among these various hybrids, they found that nearly 40 percent in some hybrid crosses could see.

These fish are descended from ancestors that have been isolated in the dark for nearly one million years and most likely havent had the capacity for vision for at least half that time, said Borowsky. But by recombining the right genes through hybridization, you can partially restore vision. Not only are the structures of the eye restored to the point where they regain function, but all the connections to the brain for proper processing of information not used for that enormous length of time are restored.

Borowsky added that the findings could pave the way for greater understanding of human eyes.

These genes that have had their function altered by mutation are the same genes that normally play important roles in the development and maintenance of the eye in humans as well as in fishes, he explained. The cave fish system gives us an experimental model for learning about human eye development and diseases.


Contact: James Devitt
New York University

Related biology news :

1. Twinkle after-effect can help retinal patients detect vision loss quickly and cheaply
2. UCSB researchers discover the dawn of animal vision
3. USC biomedical team to participate in $6 million low vision project
4. A unique arrangement for egg cell division
5. Study of sugars on cell surface identifies key factor in flu infection
6. Human hormone blocker found to help prevent obesity and diabetes: study
7. UVa biomedical engineering study shows magnetic field can reduce swelling
8. First-ever study to link increased mortality specifically to carbon dioxide emissions
9. Jefferson scientists studying the effects of high-dose vitamin C on non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients
10. Study examines genetic defects linked to body abnormalities in patients with childhood cancer
11. Deep-sea species loss could lead to oceans collapse, study suggests
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/20/2015)... , November 20, 2015 ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market and ... Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed on ... will air on this weekend on Bloomberg Europe ... America . --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... , Nov. 19, 2015  Based on its ... & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 Global Frost ... year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the ... catering to the needs of the market it serves. ... line meets and expands on customer base demands, the ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... 2015  Although some 350 companies are actively involved ... few companies, according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, ... market share of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, ... for Molecular Diagnostic s .    ... controlled by one company and only a handful of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... India , November 26, 2015 ... The Global Biobanking Market 2016 - 2020 report ... by maintaining integrity and quality in long-term samples, ... enabling long-term cost-effectiveness. Automation minimizes manual errors such ... the technical efficiency. Further, it plays a vital ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) ... a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) in an effort ... carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue ... PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs could be substantially ... defined in Section 382 of the Code. In general, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 2 ... première fois les différences entre les souches bactériennes ... celles des êtres humains . Ces recherches ... et envisager la prise en charge efficace de ... diagnostiqués chez les chats .    --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in ... pave the way for more effective treatment for one of ...   --> --> Gum ... in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria ... been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet ...
Breaking Biology Technology: