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 A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>