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 Seeing on the Quick: New Insights into Active Vision in the Brain
15.08.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

nachricht New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
15.08.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

15.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity

15.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>