Navigation Links
The benefits of 80 million years without sex
Date:10/11/2007

Scientists have discovered how a microscopic organism has benefited from nearly 80 million years without sex.

Bdelloid rotifers are asexual organisms, meaning that they reproduce without males. Without sex, these animals lack many of the ways in which sexual animals adapt over generations to survive in their natural environment.

Although other asexual organisms are known, they are thought to become extinct after relatively short time periods because they are unable to adapt. Therefore, how bdelloid rotifers have survived for tens of millions of years has been a mystery to scientists.

Bdelloids typically live in freshwater pools. However, if deprived of water they enter a dehydrated state in which they can remain for many years, surviving almost complete water loss. They then revive, having suffered no ill effect, once water becomes available again.

The new research shows how Adineta ricciae, a species of bdelloid rotifer, has evolved without sex to cope with dry conditions. The research, led by Dr. Alan Tunnacliffe from the Institute of Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge, was published today in the journal Science.

Humans and most other types of organisms reproduce sexually - resulting in two copies (or a pair) of each chromosome within a cell, one copy inherited from each parent. The chromosomes contain genes, so there are usually two copies of each gene in the cell. As a result, the two nearly identical copies of each gene in each cell will create two proteins which are also often nearly identical.

However, the researchers discovered that the two copies of the gene lea in Adineta ricciae are different and therefore generate proteins with different functions which protect the animal during dehydration. One copy protects essential proteins from clumping together as the animal dries out, while the other helps to maintain the fragile membranes that surround its cells.

This is the first time that this evolutionary trick has been shown in any asexual animal.

Dr. Alan Tunnacliffe commented on the findings: Weve known for a few years that gene copies that would have the same DNA sequence in sexual creatures can be quite different from each other in asexuals. But this is the first time weve been able to show that these gene copies in asexuals can have different functions.

Its particularly exciting that weve found different, but complementary, functions in genes which help bdelloid rotifers survive desiccation. Evolution of gene function in this way cant happen in sexual organisms, which means there could be some benefit to millions of years without sex after all.

The research, funded by the The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and The Leverhulme Trust, was conducted as part of a collaboration with academics from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, as well as from France and Germany.


'/>"/>
Contact: Genevieve Maul
genevieve.maul@admin.cam.ac.uk
44-077-740-17464
University of Cambridge
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genetically modified rice in China benefits farmers health, study finds
2. Health benefits of a Christmas brandy
3. Membrane research opens window to benefits for plants, humans
4. Greasing interferons gears may pave way to greater therapeutic benefits, fewer side effects
5. Phenolic compounds may explain Mediterranean diet benefits
6. Learning to love bacteria: Stanford scientist highlights bugs benefits
7. Oxidation defense in mosquitoes benefits malaria parasite
8. Walking not enough for significant exercise benefits
9. Research to spotlight carbon monoxide benefits
10. Flavanols in cocoa may offer benefits to the brain
11. Cocoa vitamin health benefits could outshine penicillin
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/27/2016)... 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment ... Chester, Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS ... in Austin, Texas , will significantly ... modifications, installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track ... commented, "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... DUBLIN , Jan. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... report to their offering. --> ... of the "Global Biometrics Market in ... offering. --> Research and ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... , Jan. 20, 2016  Synaptics Incorporated ... human interface solutions, today announced sampling of S1423, ... for wearables and small screen applications including smartwatches, ... printers. Supporting round and rectangular shapes, as well ... excellent performance with moisture on screen, while wearing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... --> --> ... pleased to provide the following update on recent corporate developments. ... last 3 months we have significantly increased our cash position ... As a result, we have positioned ourselves to execute on ... and expect that development to continue on schedule. ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... BEIJING , Feb. 4, 2016 Sinovac ... ), a leading provider of biopharmaceutical products in ... committee of its board of directors received on February ... 3, 2016, from a consortium comprised of PKU V-Ming ... Sinobioway Biomedicine Co., Ltd., CICC Qianhai Development ( ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... February 04, 2016 , ... Many of the engineers at ... years. What sets them apart from other cuvette manufacturers is their supercharged customer ... website. On top of this steady flow of inside information, they have recently ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... -- With the growing need for better therapeutics, and ... such as monoclonal antibodies, recombinant protein therapeutics and ... are in high demand. Conventionally expression systems were ... of these therapeutics. However, due to issues with ... approaches and novel expression systems are currently being ...
Breaking Biology Technology: