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:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... , March 28, 2017 ... Biometrics), Hardware (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video ... and Region - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... in 2016 and is projected to reach USD 75.64 ... 2017 and 2022. The base year considered for the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... PUNE, India , March 23, 2017 The report ... Equipment, Touchless Biometric), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by ... growing at a CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. ... ... Logo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/18/2017)... ... August 18, 2017 , ... Producers of the award winning ... in an upcoming episode, scheduled to broadcast fourth quarter 2017. American Farmer airs ... the independent, family-owned seed company. Educating audiences about its broad portfolio of products ...
(Date:8/17/2017)... ... August 17, 2017 , ... Cynvenio ... medicine, today announced the launch of a new breast cancer monitoring study in ... is to evaluate the potential for early detection of recurrent breast cancer using ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... ... different cell type. Many treatments for specific cancers, such as breast, prostate, or ... treatment is androgen deprivation therapy for advanced prostate cancer. , This therapy ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... Dilworth, MN (PRWEB) , ... August 16, 2017 ... ... of our third U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection at our Dilworth, ... 2017. No 483 was issued. This inspection was conducted as part of a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: