home   genetic news   bioinformatics   biotechnology   literature   journals   ethics   positions   events   sitemap
 
  HUM-MOLGEN -> Genetic News | search  
 

A Gene That Keeps Species Apart

 
  June, 22 2004 8:25
your information resource in human molecular genetics
 
     
Nearly 150 years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, biologists are still debating how new species emerge from old--and even the definition of species itself. Darwin demurred from offering a hard and fast definition, suggesting that such a thing was "undiscoverable."

In this issue of PLoS Biology, Daniel Barbash and colleagues identify a true speciation gene in the fruitfly Drosophila.

One of the more enduring definitions characterizes organisms as distinct reproductive units and species as groups of individuals that can interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring. The lack of genetic exchange between species, called reproductive isolation, lies at the heart of this definition.

At the heart of reproductive isolation is a phenomenon called hybrid incompatibility, in which closely related species are capable of mating but produce inviable or sterile offspring.

The classic example of hybrid incompatibility is the male donkeyfemale horse cross, which yields a sterile mule, but many other cases have been documented among mammals, and thousands of plant crosses produce infertile offspring.

To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of reproductive isolation, biologists must first identify candidate hybrid incompatibility genes.

Species- or lineage- specific functional divergence is an essential trait of these genes. (That is, the genes evolve different functions after the species diverge from their common ancestor.) While several such candidate genes have been identified in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, none has been shown to display this functional divergence.

Now, working with D. melanogaster and its sibling species D. simulans and D. mauritiana, Daniel Barbash, Philip Awadalla, and Aaron Tarone establish the functional divergence of a candidate hybrid compatibility gene and confirm its status as a true speciation gene.

###

Citation: Barbash DA, Awadalla P, Tarone AM (2004) Functional divergence caused by ancient positive selection of a Drosophila hybrid incompatibility locus. PLoS Biol 2(6):e142. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020142.

The published articles will be accessible readers at: http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020142.


Message posted by: Frank S. Zollmann

print this article mail this article
Bookmark and Share this page (what is this?)

Social bookmarking allows users to save and categorise a personal collection of bookmarks and share them with others. This is different to using your own browser bookmarks which are available using the menus within your web browser.

Use the links below to share this article on the social bookmarking site of your choice.

Read more about social bookmarking at Wikipedia - Social Bookmarking

Latest News
Variants Associated with Pediatric Allergic Disorder

Mutations in PHF6 Found in T-Cell Leukemia

Genetic Risk Variant for Urinary Bladder Cancer

Antibody Has Therapeutic Effect on Mice with ALS

Regulating P53 Activity in Cancer Cells

Anti-RNA Therapy Counters Breast Cancer Spread

Mitochondrial DNA Diversity

The Power of RNA Sequencing

‘Pro-Ageing' Therapy for Cancer?

Niche Genetics Influence Leukaemia

Molecular Biology: Clinical Promise for RNA Interference

Chemoprevention Cocktail for Colon Cancer

more news ...

Generated by News Editor 2.0 by Kai Garlipp
WWW: Kai Garlipp, Frank S. Zollmann.
7.0 © 1995-2016 HUM-MOLGEN. All rights reserved. Liability, Copyright and Imprint.