Navigation Links
Burmese python genome reveals extreme adaptation
Date:12/2/2013

AURORA, Colo. (Dec. 2, 2013) Scientists from the University of Colorado School of Medicine who sequenced the genome of the Burmese python have discovered large numbers of rapidly evolved genes in snakes.

These genetic changes are linked to extreme characteristics in snakes, such as rapid increases in metabolism and organ growth after feeding, findings that open a novel window into how evolution works at the molecular level.

"The bottom line is that snakes have undergone incredible changes at all levels of their biology, from the physiological to the molecular," said David Pollock, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the CU School of Medicine. "Snakes appear to have functionally evolved much more than other species. They are a crucible of evolution."

Pollock is the principle investigator of the study to appear December 2, 2013 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. He and fellow researchers, including lead author Todd Castoe, a former postdoctoral fellow at the CU School of Medicine now at the University of Texas at Arlington, found that snakes carry large numbers of proteins with signatures for positive selection in their ancestors.

This paper, and a companion paper in PNAS detailing the genome of the King Cobra, represent the first complete and annotated snake genomes.

"One of the fundamental questions of evolutionary biology is how vertebrates with all the same genes display such vastly different characteristics," Castoe said. "The Burmese python is a great way to study that because it is so extreme. We'd like to know how snakes uses genes we all have to do things no other vertebrate can do."

Extreme characteristics of the snake such as metabolism, spine and skull shape and cell cycle regulation are linked to positive selection in hundreds of genes.

"When you have positive selection you have a lot of adaptation going on," Pollock said. "Positive selection is rare, but when it happens we are curious. What we are seeing in snakes is unprecedented."

The researcher said these multiple adaptive bursts caused evolutionary redesign of many proteins in the snake.

"We first saw these unusual molecular patterns in the snake mitochondrial DNA, and now it seems they extend throughout the nuclear genome," Pollock said.

The team also found that after Burmese pythons ate, they experienced massive changes in gene expression linked to 35 to 100 percent size increases in their heart, small intestine, liver and kidneys in just 24-48 hours.

Meanwhile, the snake's metabolism, among the lowest of any vertebrate, ramped up significantly. Pollock compared the increase to a horse going from standing still to running a quarter mile race; but the snake isn't moving, just digesting.

"Genes that were fully off are now full on," he said. "Snakes eat animals as big as themselves. Once they catch something that size, they need to digest it quickly before it rots in their stomach, and they have to turn a lot of genes on to do it."

The study said phenotypic novelty in snakes appears to be driven by the system-wide coordination of protein adaptation, gene expression and changes in the genome structure.

Pollock noted that the findings not only offer insights into how evolution works at the molecular level but they also have implications for humans.

"What we are seeing now can apply to people," he said. "We can link mutations to physiological effects and perhaps find a way to stop those mutations before they cause disease. There are any number of possibilities and we are only starting to unravel them."


'/>"/>

Contact: david kelly
david.kelly@ucdenver.edu
303-503-7990
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. A CNIO study recreates the history of life through the genome
2. The National Cancer Institute is Presenting “Acquisition of High Quality Tissues to Support Genome Studies” at Sample Prep East in Cambridge, MA, December 9-10, 2013
3. Worlds first IVF baby born after preimplantation genome sequencing is now 11 months old
4. Tuberculosis genomes recovered from 200-year old Hungarian mummy
5. Harper Government and Genome Canada launch new program
6. A cautionary tale on genome-sequencing diagnostics for rare diseases
7. First Complete Mapping of the Alzheimer’s Genome Underway
8. Endometrial and acute myeloid leukemia cancer genomes characterized
9. Family ties: Relationship between human and zebrafish genomes
10. 10 Years On, Still Much To Be Learned From Human Genome Map
11. Scientists Map Genome for Dutch Elm Disease Fungus
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The president released a FY 2017 budget request on Tuesday ... of the cost burden to military beneficiaries. , MOAA’s president, retired Air Force ... as including limited quantifiable benefit fixes mixed with numerous beneficiary fee hikes. , “We ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Hall Integrative ... gearing up for their simultaneous grand openings in March. All seven practices are ... you’re probably wondering, is reversing diabetes possible? According to this 2011 CNN article ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Thermi™, a world leader in thermistor-regulated energy ... promotions of Allison Kelly to executive vice president of the company’s new North ... North American capital sales, and Wendy Oseas to vice president of global marketing. ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Atlantic Information Services, Inc. ... Model: A Case Study for Plans and Purchasers.” Executives from Intel Corp. and ... Intel on value-based health benefits program Connected Care, will discuss the challenges they ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... The Commission for Case Manager ... of Commissioners. Individuals interested in volunteer board service are encouraged to apply. The ... settings and across allied health to contribute to its mission and vision. The ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  Attending college is ... those with type 1 diabetes, the journey can be ... schedules, assignments and campus activities, they also manage the ... top of that, many are living away from home ... (Foundation) Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship with $100,000 ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016 Brain Cancer ... new treatment method at West Cancer Center . ... electric fields to inhibit cancer cell replication causing death ... more than a decade to show a significant extension ... Multiforme (GBM) patients. Currently, West Cancer Center is the ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016  AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, announced ... to provide financial support for exceptional students living ... education goals. Fifteen scholars will be selected to ... The AbbVie Rheumatology Scholarship is currently accepting applications. ... corporate social responsibility, brand and communications, AbbVie. "By ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: