Sonar links bats and whales

In a striking example of evolutionary convergence, bats and whales appear to have at least two things in common: their ability to use biosonar to navigate and explore their environments and the molecular sequence of a protein that helps them do so, according to two new papers published online today (January 25) in Current Biology. An echolocating bat (Myotis bechsteinii)avoiding collision with a plantImage: Wikimedia commons, PLoS Computational Biology"It's a nice example" of convergence at the

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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Jan 24, 2010
In a striking example of evolutionary convergence, bats and whales appear to have at least two things in common: their ability to use biosonar to navigate and explore their environments and the molecular sequence of a protein that helps them do so, according to two new papers published online today (January 25) in Current Biology.
An echolocating bat (Myotis bechsteinii)
avoiding collision with a plant

Image: Wikimedia commons,
PLoS Computational Biology
"It's a nice example" of convergence at the molecular level, said evolutionary biologist linkurl:David Pollock;http://www.evolutionarygenomics.com/Pollock.html of University of Colorado School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research, "and you've got this unusual convergence of function that they're both using sonar. That's a sort of ready explanation [for the strong sequence similarity], if you will." The protein in question, Prestin, is thought to play a role in allowing mammals to detect minute differences in timing...
PrestinNature



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