His decision came as an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him was ongoing.
Photosynthesis can happen in more than one way.
Drosophila Hmx gene directs development of mouse inner ear, an organ flies don't possess
September 13, 2004|
In a study which suggests that genetic mutation was not necessarily the primary evolutionary force producing morphological change in mammals, researchers report in the September issue of
When thinking of how new traits evolve, people have mainly focused upon mutations in protein sequences said Thomas Lufkin, of the Genome Institute of Singapore, and senior author of the
This possibility became apparent as Lufkin, lead author Weidong Wang, and their colleagues began to study a family of homeobox genes termed
The researchers began by analyzing the phenotypes of
"We didn't expect it to work as well as it did," said Lufkin, adding that these types of experiments have been done in the past, but in many cases, the proteins failed to rescue nonevolutionary conserved functions. "This demonstrates, at least in the case of this one gene, that all the functional domains are still there, and implies that it is through expression that [
This addresses a very important evolutionary question, "the use of old genes for new purposes," said Mario Capecchi, of the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, who was not involved in the
"It's impressive work," said Jacqueline Deschamps, of the Netherlands Institute for Developmental Biology, Utrecht, who was also not involved in the
"These proteins regulate basic conserved processes, such as cell proliferation and survival, so if by accident they are placed under the control of a new regulatory region, and are suddenly expressed, say in the inner ear, they could play a major role in the development there," Deschamps told
Overall, Lufkin feels that the acquisition of new contexts for old genes will become a common theme in evolutionary developmental biology–often playfully referred to as 'evodevo.' "As we go forward… we will tend to see that the idea of the cooption of regulatory regions is just as viable a means of selection as the mutation of protein coding sequences," he said.