Networks are everywhere. Trying to catch connecting flights as we shuttle from one airport to the next can make distances between cities seem even greater than they are. Discovering that you are sitting next to a friend of a friend on one of those flights (social contact networks) can make the world seem a much smaller place. Diverse networks, from airports to social interactions to genes and proteins, often have surprisingly similar structure. In all of these networks, some nodes are highly connected to many other nodes, while most tend to have just a few connections. Molecular biologists have found that the connectedness of genes and proteins is correlated with a range of phenomena, from how essential genes are, to the rates at which they have evolved, to the probability that they are lost over evolutionary time. In the yeast gene regulatory network, some genes are turned on and off by just one ’regulatory gene’ while others are influenced by ten or more regulatory genes. In a study of this network, to be published in the May 2005 issue of American Naturalist, Daniel E. L. Promislow (University of Georgia) now shows that network structure can be used to understand ecological relevant traits.
Promislow analyzes the yeast gene regulatory to understand how genes influence phenotypic plasticity. ’Phenotypic plasticity’ refers to the ability of genetically identical organisms to alter their phenotype in response to an environmental change. For example, genetically identical plants grown in sun versus shade will soon look very different from one another.
It turns out that some species are more plastic than others. Until now, we have not been able to determine what kinds of genes determine whether or not an organism displays phenotypic plasticity. A previous study measured variation in activity level for each of the roughly 6000 genes found in yeast across a range of stressful environments. Some genes varied enormously in their expression levels from one environment to the next, while others were relatively constant. That is, some genes were more plastic than others. Promislow has now discovered that the more regulators a gene has, the more plastic the gene. Furthermore, he shows that the plasticity of a gene depends on its function. From these simple patterns, we gain insight into the complex genetic architecture that determines how well an organism can respond to environmental change.
Carrie Olivia Adams | EurekAlert!
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences