In recent years horizontal, or lateral, gene transfer has been seen frequently in prokaryotes and also occasionally in eukaryotes. This lateral transfer involves the movement of genetic material between species as opposed to the vertical transfer of genes from parent to progeny. Horizontal transfer has been observed between the mitochondrial DNA of different plant species. Until now, however, no one had found evidence for horizontal transfer in the nuclear DNA of plants.
In a new study published online in the open access journal PLoS Biology, Xianmin Diao, Michael Freeling, and Damon Lisch analyzed the genomes of millet and rice, two distantly related grasses that diverged 30–60 million years ago. They found evidence for a case of horizontal gene transfer; despite significant genetic divergence from millions of years of mutations, they carry some nuclear DNA segments that are surprisingly similar. These segments contain transposon-related sequences (MULEs); transposons are genetic elements capable of independently replicating and inserting the copy into new positions in DNA.
To dispel alternative explanations for these similar segments, the authors investigated whether they could have been the result of positive selection acting to preserve these sequences. However, similarity of non-coding regions of the sequences in millet and rice was as high as the coding regions, and even synonymous mutations, which do not alter the protein sequence, were very few. The authors discount another explanation—that these sequences might occur within a genomic region subject to a lower mutation rate in general—with the help of maize (as complete genomic sequence data for the surrounding region in millet is not available). The sequences did not show the similar degree of reduced variation predicted for below-average mutation rates.
Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland
Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy