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:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... April 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. ... the server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... the end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across ... has already secured over 15 million users across the ... of connected home product suites and physical access represent ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com ... Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... will focus on developing health and wellness apps that ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon for ... world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and health ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2017)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... EpiVax, Inc. ("EpiVax") has licensed its novel immune-modulating technology ... in autoimmune disease and allergy. Tregitopes, ... discovered in human immunoglobulin by EpiVax CEO ... Martin. Similar to intravenous immunoglobulin G, an autoimmune ...
(Date:4/24/2017)... Linda, Ca (PRWEB) , ... April 24, 2017 ... ... protect proteins from thermal denaturation in a cellular milieu; however, the broad application ... a lack of simple platforms with sensitive quantitative readouts. Cell-based thermal stabilization assays ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... The ... announced first round funding to three startups through the UConn Innovation Fund. The ... new business startups affiliated with UConn. , The UConn Innovation Fund provides investments ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... accelerator dedicated to nourishing a range of emerging technology-based businesses, recently earned a ... Metropolitan Court location. , Founded in 2004, FITCI is Frederick’s first incubator. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: