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:3/29/2017)... 29, 2017  higi, the health IT company that ... North America , today announced a Series B ... of EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s ... to transform population health activities through the collection and ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar 24, 2017 Research ... Vehicle Access System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to ... ... poised to grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... NEW YORK , March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... Customer Marketing Cloud used by retailers such as ... in its platform — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using ... to give more personalized product and replenishment recommendations ... purchases, but also on predictions of customer intent ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/20/2017)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... June 20, 2017 , ... Do ... makes the transition from being a trusted supplier in the weighing industry, to extending ... cell extractions, ELISA essays, enzyme reactions, immunoassays, hybridizations and more, allowing for its ...
(Date:6/19/2017)... ... June 19, 2017 , ... A colony of healthy honey bees ... tissues by delivering pollen and nectar containing nutrients necessary for growth and survival. Better ... , Many recent indicators point to a decline in honey bee health. Sick and ...
(Date:6/15/2017)... ... June 15, 2017 , ... Cybrexa ... Series B round of financing in the amount of $6 million. An investment ... participated in the round. , The Series B funding will enable Cybrexa to ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... ... June 14, 2017 , ... Slone Partners ... initiative steered by the executive search firm, “Building Value in Precision Medicine: Can ... Directors of Foundation Medicine, led an open discussion with expert panelists Troy Cox, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: