Navigation Links
Evolution of 'irreducible complexity' explained

Using new techniques for resurrecting ancient genes, scientists have for the first time reconstructed the Darwinian evolution of an apparently "irreducibly complex" molecular system.

The research was led by Joe Thornton, assistant professor of biology at the University of Oregon's Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and will be published in the April 7 issue of SCIENCE.

How natural selection can drive the evolution of complex molecular systems ?those in which the function of each part depends on its interactions with the other parts--has been an unsolved issue in evolutionary biology. Advocates of Intelligent Design argue that such systems are "irreducibly complex" and thus incompatible with gradual evolution by natural selection.

"Our work demonstrates a fundamental error in the current challenges to Darwinism," said Thornton. "New techniques allowed us to see how ancient genes and their functions evolved hundreds of millions of years ago. We found that complexity evolved piecemeal through a process of Molecular Exploitation -- old genes, constrained by selection for entirely different functions, have been recruited by evolution to participate in new interactions and new functions."

The scientists used state-of-the-art statistical and molecular methods to unravel the evolution of an elegant example of molecular complexity ?the specific partnership of the hormone aldosterone, which regulates behavior and kidney function, along with the receptor protein that allows the body's cells to respond to the hormone. They resurrected the ancestral receptor gene ?which existed more than 450 million years ago, before the first animals with bones appeared on Earth ?and characterized its molecular functions. The experiments showed that the receptor had the capacity to be activated by aldosterone long before the hormone actually evolved.

Thornton's group then showed that the ancestral receptor also responded to a far more anci ent hormone with a similar structure; this made it "preadapated" to be recruited into a new functional partnership when aldosterone later evolved. By recapitulating the evolution of the receptor's DNA sequence, the scientists showed that only two mutations were required to evolve the receptor's present-day functions in humans.

"The stepwise process we were able to reconstruct is entirely consistent with Darwinian evolution," Thornton said. "So-called irreducible complexity was just a reflection of a limited ability to see how evolution works. By reaching back to the ancestral forms of genes, we were able to show just how this crucial hormone-receptor pair evolved."


'"/>

Source:University of Oregon


Related biology news :

1. To Stop Evolution: New Way Of Fighting Antibiotic Resistance Demonstrated By Scripps Scientists
2. Evolution of taste receptor may have shaped human sensitivity to toxic compounds
3. Evolution of life on Earth may hold key to finding life in outer space
4. Evolutionary conservation of a mechanism of longevity from worms to mammals
5. Evolutionary biology research techniques predict cancer
6. Evolutionary shifts in olfactory sensitivities in fruit flies
7. Evolution follows few of the possible paths to antibiotic resistance
8. Evolution mystery: Spider venom and bacteria share same toxin
9. Evolutionary scrap-heap challenge: Antifreeze fish make sense out of junk DNA
10. Evolutionary forces explain why women live longer than men
11. Evolution reveals an independent route for diversity in animal form
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a ... Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to the company ... technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, John ... Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and Informatics, ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... 2016 Unique technology combines ... superior security   Xura, Inc. ... secure digital communications services, today announced it is working ... enterprise customers, particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, ... authentication within a mobile app, alongside, and in combination ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... 2016 NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ... announces the airing of a new series of commercials on ... March 21 st .  The commercials will air on Bloomberg ... on the Street show. --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" ... commerce market, announces the airing of a new series of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/19/2016)... 19, 2016  AdvancedFlow Systems Inc. (AFS), a ... out of Maple Ridge, British Columbia ... its existing portfolio of contract manufacturing clients by ... with its sister companies Surround Technologies (STI) and ... industrial group that specializes in providing contract manufacturing ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... 19, 2016 - I dati ... durante il 52 ° Congresso ... - Le conclusioni dello studio indicano un ... trattati, di cui il 90% presenta una d urata ... più. Il settantadue per cento dei pazienti ha riscontrato un ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... ... , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that ... processing to help them save time and reduce errors. , Sexual Assault kits are ... and victims informed of results. Due to a previous lack of tools, many forensic ...
(Date:5/17/2016)... 2016 Haselmeier announces the launch ... approval by EMA, the European Medicines Agency. Originally launched ... company, the new pen version includes enhancements to further ... confidence to patients during use. Its enhanced ... to handle with a larger display window that improves ...
Breaking Biology Technology: