Navigation Links
Invasion of genomic parasites triggered modern mammalian pregnancy
Date:9/25/2011

Genetic parasites invaded the mammalian genome more than 100 million years ago and dramatically changed the way mammals reproduce -- transforming the uterus in the ancestors of humans and other mammals from the production of eggs to a nurturing home for developing young, a new Yale University study has found.

The findings published online Sept. 25 in the journal Nature Genetics describe in unprecedented detail the molecular changes that allowed mammals to carry their developing young within the safety of the womb rather than laying them in nests or carrying them around in pouches.

"In the last two decades there have been dramatic changes in our understanding of how evolution works," said Gunter Wagner, the Alison Richard Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) and senior author of the paper. "We used to believe that changes only took place through small mutations in our DNA that accumulated over time. But in this case we found a huge cut-and-paste operation that altered wide areas of the genome to create large-scale morphological change."

The Yale team studying the evolutionary history of pregnancy looked at cells found in the uterus associated with placental development. They compared the genetic make-up of these cells in opossums marsupials that give birth two weeks after conception to armadillos and humans, distantly related mammals with highly developed placentas that nurture developing fetuses for nine months.

They found more than 1500 genes that were expressed in the uterus solely in the placental mammals. Intriguingly, note the researchers, the expression of these genes in the uterus is coordinated by transposons essentially selfish pieces of genetic material that replicate within the host genome and used to be called junk DNA.

"Transposons grow like parasites that have invaded the body, multiplying and taking up space in the genome," said Vincent J. Lynch, research scientist in EEB and lead author of the paper.

But they also activate or repress genes related to pregnancy, he said.

"These transposons are not genes that underwent small changes over long periods of time and eventually grew into their new role during pregnancy," Lynch said. "They are more like prefabricated regulatory units that install themselves into a host genome, which then recycles them to carry out entirely new functions like facilitating maternal-fetal communication" Lynch said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bill Hathaway
william.hathaway@yale.edu
203-432-1322
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UH Manoa researchers release results of statewide survey of snail, slug invasions in Hawaii
2. Invasions by alien plants have been mapped in European Union
3. New method for detection of phosphoproteins reveals regulator of melanoma invasion
4. Master gene SRC-3 enables breast cancer growth, invasion
5. Scientists discover ancient viral invasion that shaped human genome
6. UC Riverside entomologist helps manage invasion threats posed to Californias avocados
7. Defective cell surface glue is key to tumor invasion
8. Tree resin the key evidence of current and historic insect invasions
9. Manage biological invasions like natural disasters, biologists say
10. High-throughput screen finds compounds that regulate cancer cell invasion
11. Open minded and open access: NeoBiota, a new publishing platform for invasion biologists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data captured ... engineering platform, detected a statistically significant association ... prior to treatment and objective response of ... potential to predict whether cancer patients will ... treatment, as well as to improve both pre-infusion ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... March 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company ... North America , today announced a Series ... acquisition of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates ... tools to transform population health activities through the collection ... higi collects and secures data today on ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle ... around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million ... estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... BioMedGPS announces expanded coverage ... its newest module, US Hemostats & Sealants. , SmartTRAK’s US Market for Hemostats ... sealants, synthetic sealants and biologic sealants used in surgical applications. BioMedGPS estimates the ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... , ... October 12, 2017 ... ... has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically designed for life ... Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who made a major ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The CRISPR-Cas9 ... enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. The simplicity ... for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function studies, such ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device ... on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together ... as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: