Navigation Links
Genetic analysis of cavefish reveals more about evolution

A multi-institutional study offers additional insight into the evolutionary process by examining how albinism evolves in cavefish. Researchers, including New York University Biology Professor Richard Borowsky, examined two populations of Mexican cavefish and found that albinism in both populations was linked to Oca2--a pigmentation gene also responsible for the most common form of albinism in humans. They observed different deletions in the gene in each population and found that both deletions cause a loss of Oca2's functionality, demonstrating that the albinism in the two groups evolved independently. The findings are reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature Genetics.

The study also included researchers from the Harvard Medical School, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the Children's Hospital of Boston, the University of Hamburg, and the University of Maryland's Department of Biology. The research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The replicated experiment is a powerful tool for experimental science, but typically unavailable in the study of evolution. Cave adaptations have evolved in many species independently, however, and each cave species can be considered a replicate of the same evolutionary experiment that asks how species change in perpetual darkness. A frequent outcome is that the species lose pigmentation or become albino. Cavefish, therefore, are a rich source for the examination of the evolutionary process.

In order to isolate genes' role in the evolutionary process, the researchers examined two distinct cave-dwelling fish populations. To provide a framework in which to study the genetics of this species, they made a microsatellite linkage map, which allowed them to locate the regions of the chromosomes that had genes controlling cave related traits.

The researchers found that genetic markers for albinism in the two groups appeared in the same location, suggesting three possibil ities: the two cave populations had the same mutation in the same gene, they showed different mutations in the same gene, or they had mutations in distinct but closely linked genes. To clarify their results, the researchers performed a complementation test fish in both caves, which yielded only albino offspring. They concluded that albinism in these two cave populations and in a third population not yet as well studied is caused by mutations in the same gene. Subsequent analyses revealed that Oca2 is the gene responsible for pigmentation in the cavefish and that the deletion of a specific exon, or protein- coding DNA sequence, produced albinism.

What remains a mystery is why the same gene should be mutated independently in all three populations when other genes are also known to cause albinism and why it should be the same gene that causes the most common form of albinism in humans. One possibility, suggested by the researchers, is that it is a large gene presenting a big target for mutations, and it seems to have no other functions besides helping to make melanin. Therefore, it doesn't diminish other aspects of fitness when it is mutated.


'"/>

Source:New York University


Related biology news :

1. Novel Asthma Study Shows Multiple Genetic Input Required; Single-gene Solution Shot Down
2. Genetically modified natural killer immune cells attack, kill leukemia cells
3. Ants Genetic Engineering Leads To Species Interdependency
4. Genetic Variation Visualization - From EMBL
5. Genetically modified rice in China benefits farmers health, study finds
6. Infants With Rare Genetic Disease Saved by Cord Blood Stem Cells
7. Genetically Modified Natural Killer Immune Cells Attack, Kill Leukemia Cells
8. Genetic defects give the immune system the green light to attack the pancreas
9. Maine Researchers Find Exceptions to Old Rules of Genetic Inheritance
10. Genetic therapy reverses nervous system damage in animal model of inherited human disease
11. Infants with Rare Genetic Disease Saved By Cord Blood Stem Cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/20/2016)... , June 20, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... technology solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and ... prisons involved, it has secured the final acceptance ... facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) installed. Furthermore, ... facilities to be installed by October, 2016. MAS ...
(Date:6/15/2016)... ALBANY, New York , June 15, 2016 ... published a new market report titled "Gesture Recognition Market ... Trends and Forecast, 2016 - 2024". According to the ... at USD 11.60 billion in 2015 and is ... and reach USD 48.56 billion by 2024.  ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Paris Police Prefecture ... to ensure the safety of people and operations in several ... tournament Teleste, an international technology group specialised in ... that its video security solution will be utilised by ... safety across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... supplements, is pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into ... for over 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed a ... serve as their official health care provider. As ... provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and most ... athletes and families. "We are excited ... to bring Houston Methodist quality services and programs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   ... it has secured $1 million in debt financing from ... to ramp up automation and to advance its drug ... for its new facility. "SVB has been ... goes beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ky. , June 23, 2016 ... two Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement ... placebo-controlled, single and multiple ascending dose studies designed ... pharmacodynamics (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult ... subcutaneously (SC) either as a single dose (ranging ...
Breaking Biology Technology: