The explosion of "junk" DNA in animals, plants and fungi may be the simple result of their ancestors reduced population sizes, according to a new hypothesis proposed by Indiana University Bloomington and University of Oregon scientists in the Nov. 21 issue of Science.
The hypothesis explains a mysterious genetic difference between bacteria and eukaryotes, a giant group of organisms that includes animals, plants, fungi, algae and other protists. Bacteria tend to have extremely lean genomes; their genes barely fit into them, without much genetic material left over. Eukaryotic genomes are a complex mixture of useful genes and useless ("junk") DNA jammed haphazardly between genes and even within them.
"The evolution of genomic complexity is inevitable," said IUB biologist Michael Lynch, who led the study. "Its just that in bacteria, there is a pressure against it -- natural selection -- which works more efficiently when population sizes are big. Eukaryotes have much smaller population sizes compared to bacteria, and we believe this is the main reason junk DNA sequences are still with us."
David Bricker | EurekAlert!
'Lipid asymmetry' plays key role in activating immune cells
20.02.2018 | Biophysical Society
New printing technique uses cells and molecules to recreate biological structures
20.02.2018 | Queen Mary University of London
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
20.02.2018 | Life Sciences
20.02.2018 | Medical Engineering
20.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy