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Mexican salamander helps uncover mysteries of stem cells and evolution
Date:7/11/2010

genetic mechanisms that control the soma are free to evolve, because they are no longer occupied with producing the signals that induce primordial germ cells from pluripotent embryonic cells.

Dr Johnson concluded "Organisms with germ plasm evolve more rapidly, and produce more species than those without it because there is a great deal more genetic flexibility. So, in the case of frogs, the selective advantage to having lost pluripotency in favour of germ plasm is the freedom to evolve many more species of frogs, which can inhabit many different environments. The down side is that once frogs evolved they never gave rise to anything but other frogs. On the other hand, because salamander embryos contain pluripotent cells they had the raw material to evolve completely new structures such as extraembryonic membranes, which are fundamental to the development of reptiles and mammals.

"We think that ultimately, the germ line-soma relationship is likely to be a major contributor to the astonishing diversity of species that inhabit the earth."


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Contact: Nancy Mendoza
ukpo@uknscn.org
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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