Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Forsyth scientists identify a gene responsible for facial diversity

27.10.2005


Research with cichlid fish offers support for a gene that regulates craniofacial diversity



Researchers at the Forsyth Institute have discovered that the genes that influence the jaws of cichlid fish, tropical freshwater fish renowned for head shape diversity, offer insight into overall vertebrate diversity. The scientific studies led by R. Craig Albertson, PhD., Staff Associate, show that the growth factor gene, bmp4, is both associated with and has the potential to alter jaw morphology in a way that approximates natural variation among fish species.

According to Dr. Albertson, "An understanding of the genetic factors that regulate bone shape is also vital to a better diagnostic comprehension of human craniofacial defects, and could lead to the development of biological therapies for facial traumas."


African cichlid fishes have evolved highly specialized modes of feeding through extensive adaptations of their jaws. This study, published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, (PNAS), explores the molecular basis of alternate jaw types in this species-rich group.

The opening and closing lever mechanisms of the lower jaw have traditionally been used to describe feeding techniques in bony fishes. Quantitative genetic analyses in cichlids demonstrate that opening and closing jaw mechanisms are regulated by distinct genetic factors, and are free to evolve independently. Allelic variations in bmp4 segregates with the mechanical advantage of closing. Further, species-specific differences in cichlid jaw shape are correlated with different patterns of bmp4 expression in the embryonic jaw. Finally, when bmp4 is over-expressed in a developmental model organism, the zebrafish, jaw shape changes in a way that parallels natural variation among cichlid species.

"This work provides new insights into the mechanisms that underlie biodiversity," Albertson said. "Moreover, our results show interesting parallels with recent work in another evolutionary model, Galapagos finches." In both studies bmp4 is implicated as underlying adaptive variation in jaw shape. Higher levels of bmp4 result in thicker jaws, whereas lower levels are associated with thinner jaws. The fact that bmp4 may underlie morphological diversity in both birds and fishes, raises the interesting possibility that it might play a broader role in vertebrate evolution."

"Superficial similarities between these two systems may be similar on a molecular level," Albertson adds. "This research is exciting on several levels. We now have the opportunity to explore what genes make a head, and which genes create variations in head shape. Furthermore, this work will help us gain a better understanding of, and offer possibilities for preserving biodiversity of species."

R. Craig Albertson is a Staff Associate and a member of the laboratory of Pamela C. Yelick, Ph.D. in The Forsyth Institute Department of Cytokine Biology. His work is supported through a National Institute of Health training grant awarded to the Forsyth Institute.

Jennifer Kelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.forsyth.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>