Navigation Links
Scientists use microRNAs to track evolutionary history for first time
Date:9/9/2009

New Haven, Conn.The large group of segmented worms known as annelids, which includes earthworms, leeches and bristle worms, evolved millions of years ago and can be found in every corner of the world. Although annelids are one of the most abundant animal groups on the planet, scientists have struggled to understand how the different species of this biologically diverse group relate to each other in terms of their evolutionary history. Now a team of scientists from Yale University and Dartmouth College has used a groundbreaking method to untangle some of that history.

The researchers used a novel source of datathe presence and absence of different microRNA genesto investigate the evolutionary relationships of annelids. MicroRNAs are small, non-coding genes that have long been known to play an important role in developmental biology but which have never before been used to study the evolutionary relationships between organisms. The team's findings appear online September 9 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"These genes are excellent evolutionary markers," said lead author Erik Sperling, a graduate student in Yale's Department of Geology and Geophysics. "Once a microRNA gene is fixed in a species, it is very rarely lost. As such, organisms with similar microRNAs are closely related to one another."

Building on previous work done at Kevin Peterson's lab at Dartmouth, which demonstrated the potential of using microRNAs to decipher evolutionary history, the team applied a form of high-throughput sequencing technology at the Yale Center for Genomics and Proteomics that uses a novel strategy to reveal the microRNA complement of an organism.

They discovered that certain groups of organisms previously shown by molecular analyses to lie within the annelid family, such as mollusks and peanut worms, could not have evolved from the same branch of the evolutionary tree as the rest of the annelids. Instead, the team's results demonstrate that annelids represent a unique evolutionary branch separate from these other organisms. They also show that the ancestral annelid more closely resembled a kind of bristle worm that lived on the seafloor, as opposed to the classical belief that it was a kind of burrowing worm that lived in the ocean mud.

The team's microRNA sequencing results also agree with the order in which the different annelids and their relatives appear in the fossil recordsomething that previous hypotheses about their relationships had failed to do, said co-author Derek Briggs, Yale's Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Geology and Geophysics.

"This study is an elegant example of how new methods can reconcile results from molecular sequencing of living animals with information from the fossil record," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Suzanne Taylor Muzzin
suzanne.taylormuzzin@yale.edu
203-432-8555
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/10/2016)... 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS ... (CBP) is testing its biometric identity solution at the ... to help identify certain non-U.S. citizens leaving the country. ... designed to help determine the efficiency and accuracy of using ... and will run until May 2016. --> ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... HAMBURG, Germany , March 9, 2016 ... African country,s government identified that more than 23,000 public ... name or had been receiving their salary unlawfully.    ... West African country,s government identified that more than 23,000 ... recorded name or had been receiving their salary unlawfully. ...
(Date:3/8/2016)... 2016   Valencell , the leading innovator ... has secured $11M in Series D financing. The ... venture fund being launched by UAE-based financial services ... investors TDF Ventures and WSJ Joshua Fund. Valencell ... triple-digit growth and accelerate its pioneering innovation in ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... StarNet Communications Corp, ( http://www.starnet.com/ ) a leading publisher of ... Desktop modules to its flagship X-Win32 PC X server. The new modules enable ... user’s PC over encrypted SSH. , Traditionally, users of PC X servers deploy the ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 30, 2016 , ... The MIT ... textile design, the bioLogic team explored how bacterial properties can be applied to fabric ... using Natto bacteria, which move in response to humidity change. The team harvested Natto ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... in spinal surgical procedures, today announced the completion of a significant transaction and ... current and future customers and partners. Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”), a ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... During a two ... into a viable company, CereScan’s CEO, John Kelley, joined other Denver business leaders ... and mentor in the Denver area business community, shared his top fundamental learnings ...
Breaking Biology Technology: