Navigation Links
Does missing gene point to nocturnal existence for early mammals?

A gene that makes cells in the eye receptive to light is missing in humans, researchers have discovered.

They say that whereas some animals like birds, fish and amphibians have two versions of this photoreceptor, mammals, including humans, only have one.

The findings ?published in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Biology ?reveal how our experience of the light environment may be impoverished compared to other vertebrates and fits with the suggestion that early mammals were at one time wholly nocturnal creatures.

"The classical view of how the eye sees is through photoreceptive cells in the retina called rods and cones," explained Dr Jim Bellingham, who led the research at The University of Manchester.

"But, recently, a third photoreceptor was discovered that is activated by a gene called melanopsin. This melanopsin photoreceptor is not linked to sight but uses light for non-visual processes, such as regulating our day-night rhythms and pupil constriction."

Although the melanopsin gene is present in all vertebrates, the version in mammals was unusually different to that found in fish, amphibians and birds.

"At first, we put this genetic anomaly between mammals and other vertebrates down to evolutionary differences," said Dr Bellingham, who is based in the Faculty of Life Sciences.

"But we have now learnt that other vertebrates have a second melanopsin gene ?one that matches the one found earlier in mammals and humans. The first melanopsin gene found in the other classes of vertebrates does not exist in mammals."

It is not yet clear how the functions of the two melanopsins differ but having different cone genes or 'opsins' allows vertebrates to detect different wavelengths of light and allows them to see colour.

The Manchester team now hopes to find out whether the two melanopsin genes in non-mammals play similar or different roles in non-visual light detection and so prov ide clues as to the implications of only having one melanopsin gene.

"The two genes and their associated proteins have been maintained in vertebrates for hundreds of millions of years, only for one of them to be lost in mammals.

"We are keen to discover why this might have happened ?perhaps the early mammals were at one stage nocturnal and had no need for the second gene, for instance. We also want to find out what losing one of these genes means for humans."
'"/>

Source:University of Manchester


Related biology news :

1. Scientists find missing enzyme for tuberculosis iron scavenging pathway
2. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
3. Sinkers provide missing piece in deep-sea puzzle
4. Hepatitis B accounts for 40 percent of missing Asian women
5. South Pacific plant may be missing link in evolution of flowering plants
6. While on trail of dioxin, scientists pinpoint cancer target of green tea
7. Pinpointing the cause of a neurodegenerative disorder
8. Pinpointing a culprit molecule in Alzheimers disease
9. Scientists crack 40-year-old DNA puzzle and point to hot soup at the origin of life
10. Scientists pinpoint inflammation gene
11. New study pinpoints epicenters of Earths imminent extinctions

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Research and Markets has announced ... report to their offering. ... global eye tracking market to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% ... Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on an in-depth market ... landscape and its growth prospects over the coming years. The report ...
(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:4/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, ... detected a statistically significant association between the ... treatment and objective response of cancer patients ... predict whether cancer patients will respond to ... well as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , April 27, 2017 ... ) today announced that its Board of Directors authorized ... company,s common stock. This program will became effective immediately, ... may be made in the open market, accelerated share ... time as determined by United Therapeutics, management and in ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Arrowhead Publishers is pleased ... is coming to San Diego, CA on September 27-28, 2017. Leaders from the ... latest advances in the treatment of various types of pain. There are also ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... The Council for Agricultural ... to Jayson Lusk, a consummate communicator who promotes agricultural science and technology in ... as he explains how innovation and growth in agriculture are critical for food ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... Alto, CA, USA (PRWEB) , ... April 26, ... ... popular seminar on FDA’s GMP expectations for phase I clinical trials comes to ... attended by various biotechnology and pharma professionals representing FDA regulated organizations such as ...
Breaking Biology Technology: