Tentacles test tenets of evolution

Novel genes, rather than regulatory DNA, underlie the evolution of morphological traits, according to research published today (Nov. 17) in __PLoS Biology__. The new linkurl:study;http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0060278 reports that genes found in simple freshwater animals -- but not in any other evolutionary lineage -- can drive changes in body plan, and stokes the flames of a long-standing debate among evolutionary developmental biologist

Elie Dolgin
Nov 17, 2008
Novel genes, rather than regulatory DNA, underlie the evolution of morphological traits, according to research published today (Nov. 17) in __PLoS Biology__. The new linkurl:study;http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0060278 reports that genes found in simple freshwater animals -- but not in any other evolutionary lineage -- can drive changes in body plan, and stokes the flames of a long-standing debate among evolutionary developmental biologists. "This is the first study that puts together comparative molecular evolution data and experimental data into a cohesive case for this mode of evolution," Günter Wagner, an evolutionary developmental biologist at Yale University, who was not involved in the research, told __The Scientist__. The underlying genetic basis of morphological adaptation has been hotly debated in the evolutionary developmental (evo-devo) field. On the one side, many argue that innovations in body plans stem from modifications in the spatial and temporal activity of well-conserved linkurl:regulatory DNA,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23246/ known as cis elements. Others,...

Hydra tentacle formation during budding

transcriptomeorphanImage courtesy of PLoS Biology

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