Navigation Links
UBC graduate student discovers key to 'bifocals' in mangrove fish species
Date:7/20/2011

A "four-eyed" fish that sees simultaneously above and below the water line has offered up a dramatic example of how gene expression allows organisms to adapt to their environment.

Gregory L. Owens, a University of British Columbia graduate student, found a sharp divide between the upper and lower sections of the eyes of Anableps anableps, a six- to 12-inch fish closely related to guppies. The findings were published today online in Biology Letters.

The four-eyed fish spends most of its life at the water surface, feeding on flying insects as well as algae, in the mangrove swamps of central America and northern South America. The upper half of its eyes penetrate the water line, while the lower half of its eyes are submerged.

Its opsin genes, which code for light receptors in the eye, closely resemble those of other fish species that don't see above water, so it was unknown if the four-eyed fish's eyes were adapted to both aerial and aquatic light.

Owens, while conducting research for a master's degree at the University of Victoria, sought an answer in how the opsin genes were expressed. He made several molecular probes that, when applied to the retina, would bind to specific opsin gene messenger RNA (mRNA), the molecules that translate DNA into protein synthesis.

By determining the type and distribution of mRNA in the retina, Owens discovered that the eye was clearly divided in sensitivity. One part of the retina, exposed to aerial light, has cones (neurons that convert light into brain signals) that are sensitive to the green wavelengths that predominate in the air. The other part of the retina, exposed to aquatic light, has cones more attuned to the yellow wavelengths of muddy water. The whole eye, meanwhile, is sensitive to other wavelengths, from ultraviolet to blue.

"We expected some difference between different parts of the eye, but not as dramatic as this," says Owens, who is now earning his PhD in UBC's Department of Botany.

John Taylor, an associate professor of biology at the University of Victoria who supervised Owens' work, said the study is part of a larger fish opsin research program that examines gene duplication. Usually, duplicated genes are rendered non-functional by mutations but not in this case.

"Greg's study illuminates how gene duplication can lead to innovation in this case each half of the eye gets its own duplicate, tailored to its particular needs," Taylor says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Greg Owens
gowens@interchange.ubc.ca
604-440-4125
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. ASPB awards 15 summer undergraduate research fellowships
2. Tufts graduate students receive $10,000 prizes
3. 5 UH graduates receive NSF fellowships for further study
4. Graduate marine science students head to the Mediterranean Sea
5. Undergraduate institutions should play larger research role
6. Louisiana Tech University students receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
7. AACR awards AACR-Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Award for Undergraduate Students
8. 2011 Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award recipients announced
9. K-State doctoral graduate examines food bioterrorism for dissertation
10. Graduate physics students wins top honors in superconductivity symposium
11. Undergraduates low-cost ultrasound system wins Gates Foundation grant
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016   Veridium ... announced the appointment of new CEO James ... executive with decades of experience, has served in ... Cisco, where he specialized in expanding a pipeline ... technology portfolios. He most recently served as managing ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... 2016 Securus Technologies, a leading provider ... public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, and the ... five (5) year funding commitment by Securus to ... rehabilitation and reentry support to more inmates and ... 2004, the Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is an ...
(Date:12/2/2016)...   SoftServe , a global digital technology ... electrocardiogram (ECG) biosensor analysis system for continuous driver ... The smart system ensures device-to-device communication between ECG ... mobile devices to easily ,recognize, and monitor users ... technology advances, so too must the security systems ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)...   Biocept, Inc . (NASDAQ: ... actionable liquid biopsy tests to improve the management ... its Target Selectorâ„¢ Circulating Tumor Cell platform demonstrated ... of actionable biomarkers in patients with metastatic breast ... Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), the research arm of ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... Huffman Engineering, Inc. , ... Wonderware Certified System Integrator Partner. Huffman Engineering is the only Nebraska-based company ... System Integrator Partner certification gives customers confidence that our engineers are fully trained ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... CALGARY , Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Capital Corp. ... update that will be presented at the Company,s Annual and ... Meeting of Shareholders will take place on Thursday, December 15, ... Ross Glenn Hall (Room EC1040), 4825 Mount Royal Gate ... am (MST). A notice of meeting and management information circular, ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... The report "Acrylic Processing Aid Market by Polymer Type (PVC), Fabrication ... - Global Forecast to 2026", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market size was ... by 2026, registering an of CAGR of 6.2% between 2016 and 2026. ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
Breaking Biology Technology: