Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How parasites keep the gene pool healthy

22.03.2007
All life forms have depended on having a diverse range of genes in order to adapt and survive through the ages. Research published today (Thursday) in the print edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society B reveals how parasites co-evolve with their hosts so that genetic diversity is maintained. Compromise between hosts and parasites is vital, say scientists at the John Innes Centre.

Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have developed a mathematical model to examine how organisms can maintain their gene diversity for resistance to disease. The research highlights how a diverse gene pool helps plants and animals to deal with diseases, and how parasites, in return, use genetic diversity to overcome defences.

"The more diverse, or polymorphic, the organism is, the more it can adapt to its environment. One of the reasons for this genetic diversity is interaction between parasite and host," comments Professor James Brown.

Despite millions of years of evolution where increasingly improved resistance to disease should be expected, plants and animals including humans are still susceptible to parasites in varying degrees. Aurélien Tellier, a Ph.D. student working with Brown, proposes a general solution to this paradox with their mathematical theory.

... more about:
»Brown »adapt »genetic diversity »parasite

Parasites constantly adapt to host organisms, and their hosts constantly evade attack by evolving resistance. But compromise is of the essence, according to Tellier and Brown. They show that when the rate at which the parasite adapts to its host slows down as parasite numbers increase, the genetic diversity in both host and parasite can be maintained. Eventually, the host and parasite arrive at a compromise, where the parasite ceases to become more virulent and the host ceases to become more resistant.

The theory predicts that many biological and ecological factors are likely to contribute to the compromise - for instance when several generations of the parasite survive in the host, or when plant seeds survive several years in the soil without germinating.

"Without these challenging factors in our environment we would most likely have lost genetic diversity a long time ago and become less able to cope with diseases," said Brown.

Professor Julia Goodfellow, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "This research gives us a better understanding of how we have genetically adapted to our environment, and contributes to our knowledge of disease resistance."

Press Office | alfa
Further information:
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

Further reports about: Brown adapt genetic diversity parasite

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>