Navigation Links
University of Toronto biologists predict extinction for organisms with poor quality genes

TORONTO, ON Evolutionary biologists at the University of Toronto have found that individuals with low-quality genes may produce offspring with even more inferior chromosomes, possibly leading to the extinction of certain species over generations.

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) predicts that organisms with such genetic deficiencies could experience an increased number of mutations in their DNA, relative to individuals with high-quality genes. The research was done on fruit flies whose simple system replicates aspects of biology in more complex systems, so the findings could have implications for humans.

"Mutations play a key role in cancer and other health problems affecting humans and other species," says Nathaniel Sharp, PhD candidate in U of T's Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB) and lead author of the study. "Our research suggests that the problem is likely to compound over time, leading to a mutational meltdown that may devastate endangered populations, and increase the risk of health problems in families in poor condition."

Sharp and EEB professor Aneil Agrawal examined the accumulation of mutations in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the genes of which are arranged on three major chromosomes. To manipulate genetic quality, they introduced harmful mutations onto the fly's third chromosome. They then observed how the presence of these mutations affected the fitness of the second chromosome over 46 generations.

"Copies of chromosome two maintained in strains with poor-quality copies of chromosome three declined in fitness two to three times faster than those with good copies of chromosome three, suggesting that poor genetic quality elevates the mutation rate," says Sharp. While the underlying mechanism remains unknown, it could be tied to how an affected individual is less capable of repairing DNA or is more susceptible to DNA damage.

Fruit flies are especially useful for genetic studies such as this for the ability to screen for thousands of genes in thousands of flies much faster than in mammals. Flies are inexpensive to care for and reproduce rapidly, allowing for several generations to be studied in just a few months.

The researchers do, however, offer a more positive possible result of the process. "An elevated mutation rate under conditions of genetic or environmental stress could also accelerate adaptation to new environments," says Sharp.


Contact: Sean Bettam
University of Toronto

Related biology news :

1. Rice University establishes National Corrosion Center
2. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
3. Case Western Reserve University project ties soil conservation and river management together
4. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
5. NIH selects Case Western Reserve University to participate in National Childrens Study
6. US Senate confirms Clemson University engineering Dean Esin Gulari to National Science Board
7. University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
8. Scent on demand: Hebrew University scientists enhance the scent of flowers
9. University success at national engineering awards
10. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
11. Providing toilets, safe water is top route to reducing world poverty: UN University
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
University of Toronto biologists predict extinction for organisms with poor quality genes
(Date:12/1/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 ... of human interface solutions, today announced a new agreement ... enable OEMs with real-world test and development environments that ... Labs solutions. The partnership reduces the complexity of FIDO ... and software permits Synaptics and OEMs to verify FIDO ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... BEACH, Fla. , Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... as a finalist in this year,s Fierce Innovation Awards:  ... of FierceHealthIT , FierceHealthcare ... was recognized as a finalist in the category ... --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 Research ... of the "Capacitive Fingerprint Sensors - Technology and ... --> --> ... market, especially in smartphones. The fingerprint sensor vendor Idex ... fingerprint sensor units in mobile devices and of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... England , December 1, 2015 ... is a touch activated lancet that features Owen Mumford,s ... , booth 1403, Unistik® Touch is a touch ... Technology®. --> Owen Mumford, a leading medical ... range of medical devices, available initially in the US ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Today the Allen Institute announced the opening ... South Lake Union neighborhood, the city,s biotechnology hub. ... Westlake Avenue North, the 270,000 square foot life sciences ... Science and the Allen Institute for Cell Science. ... the Allen Institute. "We started by building a map ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT ... at MIT have engineered changes to the revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 ... editing errors. The refined technique addresses one of the ... Science , Feng Zhang and ... 1,400 amino acids that make up the Cas9 enzyme ...
(Date:12/1/2015)...  Twist Bioscience, a company focused on synthetic DNA, today ... been selected as one of Foreign Policy,s 100 ... blocks of life . Each year, Foreign Policy ... work have changed lives and are shaping the world. ... honor to be recognized among these incredible global leaders," said ...
Breaking Biology Technology: