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|
University of Cambridge