The leading author is Karin Kiontke, a post-doctoral fellow in New York University’s Department of Biology. The research team included NYU Biology Professor David Fitch as well as researchers from the University of Paris, the Israel Institute of Technology, and the Max-Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Germany.
The researchers were interested in how development evolves in organs which themselves do not change. To do so, they examined the vulva—the female's copulatory and egg-laying organ—in nearly 50 species of roundworms. Because the vulva does not significantly change across species, one might predict that there would be little variation in vulva development. However, the researchers found an astonishing amount of developmental variation. They then reasoned that this variation, since it did not affect the final adult vulva, should have evolved in a stochastic, or random, fashion.
In executing the study, the research team analyzed more than 40 characteristics of vulva development, including cell death, cell division patterns, and related aspects of gonad development. They plotted the evolution of these traits on a new phylogenetic tree, which illustrates how species are related to one another and provides a map as to how evolutionary changes are occurring.
Their results showed an even greater number of evolutionary changes in vulva development than the researchers had expected. In addition, they found that evolutionary changes among these species were unidirectional in nearly all instances. For example, they concluded that the number of cell divisions needed in vulva development declined over time—instead of randomly increasing and decreasing. In addition, the team noted that the number of rings used to form the vulva consistently declined during the evolutionary process. These results demonstrate that, even where we might expect evolution to be random, it is not.
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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