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!
MicroRNA helps cancer evade immune system
19.09.2017 | Salk Institute
Ruby: Jacobs University scientists are collaborating in the development of a new type of chocolate
18.09.2017 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
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