Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Fish prone to melanoma get DNA decoded

16.04.2013
Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and elsewhere have decoded the genome of the platyfish, a cousin of the guppy and a popular choice for home aquariums.

Among scientists, the fish are meticulously studied for their tendency to develop melanoma and for other attributes more common to mammals, like courting prospective mates and giving birth to live young.

Known scientifically as Xiphophorus maculatus, platyfish sport a variety of spectacular colors – brilliant oranges, yellows and a lovely iridescent silver – and myriad striped and speckled patterns. And when melanomas develop, they are easy to spot, even to an untrained eye.

“In platyfish, melanomas typically develop as black splotches along the tail and fins,” says senior author Wesley Warren, PhD, a geneticist at Washington University’s Genome Institute. “These fish are an ideal model for exploring the many unknowns of cancer, including how, when and where it develops in the body as well as its severity.”

Scientists at Washington University, the University of Würzburg in Germany and Texas State University led an international team involved in sequencing and analyzing the platyfish genome. Their findings are available online in Nature Genetics.

“Now that we have the genome in hand, we can tease apart the way genes interact with one another to cause melanoma,” says co-lead author Manfred Schartl, PhD, of the University of Würzburg in Germany. “Just as in human melanoma, genes that play a role in pigment cells also influence the development of melanoma in platyfish.”

The platyfish genome includes some 20,000 genes, roughly the same number found in the human genome. But unlike humans and other mammals, the chromosomes of the platyfish, like those in other fish, have remained remarkably intact over some 200 million years of evolution.

“It’s very much a mystery as to why these chromosomes are so structurally similar among fish species over long time periods of evolution because they live in vastly different aquatic environments,” says Warren.

The platyfish is a prolific breeder. But while most fish lay eggs, platyfish females give birth to live young, often in broods of more than 100.

Comparing the genes of platyfish to those in mice and other mammals that give birth to their young, the scientists found a number of altered genes in the fish involved in live-bearing birth.

“Surprisingly, we found that the platyfish retain some yolk-related genes typically found in fish that lay eggs to produce their offspring, and genes involved in placenta function and egg fertilization displayed unique molecular changes,” says co-lead author Ron Walter, PhD, of Texas State University.

While humans are known for their higher-level thinking and behaviors, platyfish and other fish have evolved their own set of complex behaviors, like courting, schooling and avoiding predators that far exceed the abilities of amphibians, reptiles and other lower vertebrates. Looking through the platyfish genome, the researchers found a number of gene copies linked to cognition in humans and other mammals that could underlie these behaviors.

“These gene copies were retained at a high rate in the platyfish, which give them a chance to evolve different functions,” Warren explains. “In this case, we believe the extra gene copies gave platyfish and other related fish the ability to develop more complex behaviors, which is unexpected for many lower-level vertebrates.”

The research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources and the Office of Research Infrastructure Programs.

Schartl M, Walter, RB, Shen Y, Garcia T, Catchen J, Amores A, Braasch I, Chalopin D, Volff J-N, Lesch K-P, Bisazza A, Minx P, Hillier L, Wilson RK, Fuerstenberg S, Boore J, Searle S, Postlethwait JH and Warren WC. The genome of the platyfish, Xiphophorus maculatus, provides insights into evolutionary adaption and several complex traits. Nature Genetics. March 31, 2013.

Washington University School of Medicine’s 2,100 employed and volunteer faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is one of the leading medical research, teaching and patient care institutions in the nation, currently ranked sixth in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Caroline Arbanas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wustl.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water world
20.11.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis

nachricht Carefully crafted light pulses control neuron activity
20.11.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Antarctic landscape insights keep ice loss forecasts on the radar

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Filling the gap: High-latitude volcanic eruptions also have global impact

20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

Water world

20.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>