Navigation Links
Tuatara, the fastest evolving animal
Date:3/20/2008

In a study of New Zealands living dinosaur the tuatara, evolutionary biologist, and ancient DNA expert, Professor David Lambert and his team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara, which are up to 8000 years old. They found that, although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving - at a DNA level - faster than any other animal yet examined. The research will be published in the March issue of Trends in Genetics.

What we found is that the tuatara has the highest molecular evolutionary rate that anyone has measured, Professor Lambert says.

The rate of evolution for Adlie penguins, which Professor Lambert and his team have studied in the Antarctic for many years, is slightly slower than that of the tuatara. The tuatara rate is significantly faster than for animals including the cave bear, lion, ox and horse.

Of course we would have expected that the tuatara, which does everything slowly they grow slowly, reproduce slowly and have a very slow metabolism would have evolved slowly. In fact, at the DNA level, they evolve extremely quickly, which supports a hypothesis proposed by the evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson, who suggested that the rate of molecular evolution was uncoupled from the rate of morphological evolution.

Allan Wilson was a pioneer of molecular evolution. His ideas were controversial when introduced 40 years ago, but this new research supports them.

Professor Lambert says the finding will be helpful in terms of future study and conservation of the tuatara, and the team now hopes to extend the work to look at the evolution of other animal species.

We want to go on and measure the rate of molecular evolution for humans, as well as doing more work with moa and Antarctic fish to see if rates of DNA change are uncoupled in these species. There are human mummies in the Andes and some very good samples in Siberia where we have some collaborators, so we are hopeful we will be able to measure the rate of human evolution in these animals too.

The tuatara, Sphendon punctatus, is found only in New Zealand and is the only surviving member of a distinct reptilian order Sphehodontia that lived alongside early dinosaurs and separated from other reptiles 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic period.


'/>"/>

Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Engineering the worlds fastest swimsuit
2. Binghamton University researchers investigate evolving malaria resistance
3. Evolving complexity out of junk DNA
4. Small animal imaging facility is big boon to research
5. Report: African, Asian, Latin American farm animals face extinction
6. UT researcher sheds new light on hybrid animals
7. Penn Veterinary Medicine report new strategy to create genetically-modified animals
8. UT researcher sheds new light on hybrid animals
9. PETA awards $120,000 to Duluth Foundation for advancing non-animal tests
10. New animal and plant species found in Vietnam
11. Fungus genome yielding answers to protect grains, people and animals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)... -- IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central ... in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi. ... patients can routinely track key health measurements, such as ... when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians ... retail location at no cost. By leveraging this data, ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PUNE, India , March 22, 2016 ... new market research report "Electronic Sensors Market for ... Fingerprint, Proximity, & Others), Application (Communication & ... and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", ... consumer industry is expected to reach USD ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... --> --> ... Research "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global Industry Analysis, ... global digital door lock systems market in terms of revenue ... forecast to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during the ... enterprises (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial activity driving ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... 26, 2016 Q BioMed Inc. (OTCQB: ... be a featured presenter at the 5th Annual Marcum MicroCap ... York City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. ... BioMed Inc. CEO, is scheduled to begin at 11a.m ET ... business strategy, recent developments and outline milestones for the balance ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... FireflySci cuvettes are used in leading laboratories all over the globe. Their cute ... In addition to manufacturing awesome cuvettes, FireflySci makes spectrophotometer calibration standards that never ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Founder of the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in ... of the hand by the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, as of ... in his pursuit of providing the most comprehensive, effective treatment for his patients, ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lady had ... she tore her cruciate ligament in her left knee. Lady’s owner Hannah sought the ... central Florida board-certified veterinary surgeon, to repair her cruciate ligament and help with the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: