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:4/5/2017)... SEATTLE , April 5, 2017  The Allen ... the Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic ... large-scale 3D imaging data, the first application of deep ... edited human stem cell lines and a growing suite ... the platform for these and future publicly available resources ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , a leader ... United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued ... linking of an iris image with a face image ... the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University ... adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, pushing ... for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of access ... ... A research team led by Dr Ajay ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/20/2017)... Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) , ... September 20, ... ... and public interest organization focused on molecular manufacturing and other transformative technologies, announced ... categories, one for Experiment and the other for Theory in nanotechnology/molecular manufacturing. , ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... automates the most dangerous step of sample prep for metals digestion—the addition of ... automation at an affordable price. The system is ideal for any laboratory performing ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... A best-selling author and an ... “Grit” author Angela Duckworth and her team at Character Lab have joined Philadelphia’s ... international law firm with decades of experience supporting high-growth companies in the technology ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... The new and improved Oakton® pocket testers, from Cole-Parmer, ... upright with a new cap design that is versatile, functional and leakproof. They are ... to test water quality. , The Oakton pocket testers have many user-friendly and functional ...
Breaking Biology Technology: