Navigation Links
Molecular evolution is echoed in bat ears
Date:9/5/2008

Bats' ability to echolocate may have evolved more than once, according to research published this week by Queen Mary, University of London scientists.

Species of bat with the ability to echolocate do not all group together in the evolutionary tree of life - some are more related to their non-echolocating cousins, the fruit bats. This has raised the question of whether echolocation in bats has evolved more than once, or whether the fruit bats somehow lost their ability to echolocate.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr Stephen Rossiter from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, along with Professor Gareth Jones from the University of Bristol and Professor Shuyi Zhang and Dr Li Gang from East China Normal University in Shanghai, studied a gene called Prestin that codes for a protein of the outer hair cells - the tiny structures in the inner ear that help to give mammals their sensitive hearing (Prestin is linked to deafness in humans).

They looked at the Prestin DNA sequence in a range of echolocating bats and fruit bats and found that parts of the gene appear to have evolved to be similar in the distantly related echolocating species. But they couldn't find any evidence of genetic changes in the fruit bat Prestin that might be expected from a loss of high frequency hearing.

Dr Rossiter explains: "If Prestin does indeed help bats to hear their high-pitched echoes, then these results appear to support the idea that echolocation has evolved more than once in bats. This apparent independent evolution of a trait in distant relatives is known as convergence, a term that is more commonly used to describe the physical features of species that live in similar habitats and face similar selection pressures, such as the spines of hedgehogs and porcupines."

Examples of convergence at a molecular level are very rare. Based on their results, Dr Rossiter and his colleagues warn of the potential problems of inferring true evolutionary relationships from genes that may be involved in important functions and, therefore, could be shaped by convergent evolution.

Dr Rossiter added: "If hearing were an Olympic event, echolocating bats would be strong medal contenders. Their ears are tuned to higher sound frequencies than those of any other mammals because they need to listen to the returning echoes of their ultra-sonic squeaks."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sian Halkyard
s.halkyard@qmul.ac.uk
07-970-096-175
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Molecular cubes in the sunlight
2. AACR hosts Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development Meeting
3. Rice lab finds molecular clues to Wilson disease
4. Caltech researchers awarded $10M for molecular programming project
5. Newly discovered molecular switch helps decide cell type in early embryo development
6. Fossil and molecular evidence reveals the history of major marine biodiversity hotspots
7. MicroRNA implicated as molecular factor in alcohol tolerance
8. SNM awards $300,000 to support molecular imaging research
9. Livermore researchers use carbon nanotubes for molecular transport
10. A molecular switch turns on the flame in natures blowtorch
11. Scientists discover a molecular scaffold that guides connections between brain cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2017)... Feb. 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- RSA, a ... is designed to enhance fraud detection and investigation ... the RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence Suite. The ... leverage additional insights from internal and external sources ... protect their customers from targeted cybercrime attacks. ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Feb. 7, 2017  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE ... reported financial results for its quarter and year ended December ... of 2016 was $3.9 million compared to $6.9 million in ... quarter of 2016 was $0.6 million compared to $2.6 million ... fourth quarter of 2016 was $0.5 million, or $0.02 per ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... Feb. 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. ... healthcare, will present at the LEERINK Partners 6th Annual ... Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 10 a.m. ... the presentation can be accessed at http://wsw.com/webcast/leerink28/zbh .  ... conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... DUBLIN , Feb. 16, 2017 ... the "Synthetic Biology: Global Markets" report to ... ... synthetic-biology products (synthetic genes, biobrick parts, delivery plasmids, chassis ... DNA synthesis and assembly, genome editing, bioinformatics and specialty ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... PALM BEACH, Florida , February 16, 2017 ... vastly improving with the infusion of innovative telemedicine ... patient monitoring services that are experiencing a boom ... evolve with the advancement of technologies, services and ... Technologies Inc. (OTC: RQHTF) (TSX-V: RHT), Cellectar Biosciences, ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... N.J. , Feb. 16, 2017  Champions Oncology, ... in the development and sale of advanced technology solutions ... oncology drugs, today announced the addition of new cohorts ... These new models will expand Champions, product line ... head and neck cancer, AML, and non-small cell lung ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017  Rhythm, a biopharmaceutical ... deficiencies that result in life-threatening metabolic disorders, ... million mezzanine round of financing with existing ... Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Pfizer Venture Investments, ... healthcare investment fund. Rhythm will use the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: