Navigation Links
Simple explanation for complex pattern of feather development

Biologists testing a mathematical model of the mechanism birds use to control the growth of complex feathers found that plumed feather structures involve the coordination of at least two genes that activate and that inhibit barb growth.

"Understanding these mechanisms of feather growth gives a whole new perspective on the unique beauty of feathers," said Richard Prum, senior author on the study. Prum is the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, and Curator of Ornithology and Vertebrate Zoology at Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History.

An eclectic team of biologists used a combination of mathematical and molecular methods to reveal some of the secrets of branched feather growth, and propose how the unique complexity of feathers may have evolved. Ornithologist Prum led a team including anatomists Matthew Harris and John Fallon at the University of Wisconsin, statistician Scott Williamson at Cornell and Hans Meinhardt at the Max Plank Institute.

Their findings provide the best experimental evidence for a classical theory for growth of complex biological structures. In the 1950's, Alan Turing, mathematician, pioneering computer scientist and code-breaker, proposed that repeated patterns could emerge through the interactions among chemical morphogens or molecules that cause things to develop -- an activator that makes things happen, and an inhibitor that suppresses the activator.

To test the model in feathers, Harris forced expression of the activator, Shh, or the inhibitor, Bmp2, in the skin of six-day old chick embryos by injecting them with a retrovirus. The results were seen in localized patches and demonstrated that a simple relationship between developmental genes could be the basis for formation of feather structures. This was the first documentation, in any plant or animal, that signaling molecules in development can actually behave as envisioned by Turing 50 years ago.

This work provides a key to some of these most basic questions of biology. The findings also indicate that more complex shafted feathers evolved from the simpler downy tufts by the addition of new players to the original activator-inhibitor pair. Prum is now following up on several clues in the search for these other molecular signals.


Source:Yale University

Related biology news :

1. Simple drug has the potential to save many lives threatened by malaria
2. Discovery Promises Simpler Therapy for Sickle Cell Disease
3. Simple sea sponge helps scientists understand tissue rejection
4. Simple idea to dramatically improve dengue vaccinations
5. Simple home spit test to spot deadly pre-eclampsia
6. Nobel Laureate finds elegant explanation for DNA transcribing enzymes high fidelity
7. Genome of deadly amoeba shows surprising complexity, evidence of lateral gene transfer
8. Scientists document complex genomic events leading to the birth of new genes
9. NYU, Rockefeller researchers find complexity of regulation by microRNA genes
10. MSKCC researchers uncover structure of key protein complex in cells
11. Mouse genome much more complex than expected
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Transparency Market ... Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size ... to the report, the  global gesture recognition market ... and is estimated to grow at a CAGR ... 2024.  Increasing application of gesture recognition ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 ... in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global ... a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics ... Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the ... billion by 2021, on account of growing security concerns ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the leading software as ... Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both audio and video ... trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can schedule a face ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with ... tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding ... CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer ... data will then be employed to support the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP ... individual circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test ... of HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... therapies targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader ... “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, ... providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: