Friday, January 30, 2015

Why is a dolphin not a cat? Researchers explain rich diversity in mammals

A new research led by European Molecular Biology Laboratory and published in journal Cell has revealed the reason behind the rich diversity found in mammals and also explained why dolphin isn’t a cat.

The research explains the reason behind the divergence of mammals by examining genome sequences in around 29 mammals and comparing gene regulation in liver cells from 20 key species.

The researchers explained the ways to turn changes in the genome into differences between species which included change of protein sequence, or by changing the way promoters or enhancers control that protein’s expression.

The team of researches explained that even both the changes can occur at the same time when amino acid sequences evolve very quickly.

Paul Flicek, head of Vertebrate Genomics at European Bioinformatics Institute said that their research focuses on evolution repurposes things that exist in all species, to make each species unique, and by looking at gene promoters and enhancers in many different mammals, their study demonstrated that species-specific enhancers come from ancient DNA.

“What we’ve shown is that evolution repurposes things that exist in all species, to make each species unique,” explains Flicek. “By looking at gene promoters and enhancers in many different mammals, we demonstrated that species-specific enhancers come from ancient DNA – that evolution captures DNA that’s been around for a long time, and uses it for gene regulation in specific tissues.”

Duncan Odom of CRUK CI and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute explained that with their study findings they can now answer questions about the functional genetics of many under-explored, and this research has also given new insights into mammalian evolution.

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