Scientists find gene that fuels 'sexual arms race'

In many animals, the difference between male and female is strikingly apparent. This is especially true in birds, fish and some insects where colors and other adornments can spell the difference between mating success and failure.

Now, thanks to the lowly fruit fly and a team of scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at Washington University in St. Louis, one genetic circuit that governs sexual dimorphism - the diagnostic differences between the sexes - has been found and characterized.

The discovery, described in the Thursday, Nov. 30, edition of the British scientific journal Nature, is important because it not only shows how and why animals dress for reproductive success, but provides a glimpse of the genetic changes that, over time, lead to the evolution of new animal species.

"Fundamentally, the difference between species is in their DNA," says Sean B. Carroll, a professor of genetics at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at UW-Madison and an author of the Nature paper. "And this genetic circuit holds the gene that makes a key difference between fly species."

In the fruit fly, specifically the laboratory workhorse Drosophila melanogaster, one of the obvious visual signals of its sex is body pigmentation: the rear end of the melanogaster male is heavily pigmented and the female's is not. This new "fruit fly fashion" has evolved only recently in a relatively small subset of Drosophila species, according to Carroll, and co-authors Artyom Kopp, also of HHMI at UW-Madison, and Ian Duncan of Washington University.

The researchers found that a gene called "bric-a-brac" establishes the difference between melanogaster females and males by suppressing pigmentation in females. However, the same gene functions in both sexes in other fly species where male-specific pigmentation is absent and males and females look pretty much the same.

Beginning with Darwin, scientists have believed that animals assume gaudy colors to promote th

Contact: Sean B. Carroll
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Scientists to prototype cyberinfrastructure for research and education access to ocean observatories
2. Scientists sequence genome of kind of organism central to biospheres carbon cycle
3. Scientists find nanowires capable of detecting individual viruses
4. Scientists discover potential new way to control drug-resistant bacteria
5. Scientists explore genome of methane-breathing microbe
6. Scientists decipher genetic code of biothreat pathogen
7. Stuck on you: Scientists lay bare secrets of bacterial attachment proteins
8. Scientists discover proteins involved in spread of HIV-1 infection
9. Scientists fear new Ebola outbreak may explain sudden gorilla disappearance
10. Scientists reinvent DNA as template to produce organic molecules
11. Scientists visualise cellular handmaiden that restores shape to proteins

Post Your Comments:

(Date:3/20/2020)... ... March 20, 2020 , ... ... human embryonic stem cell (ESC) derived mesenchymal stem cells (hES-MSC), through a proprietary ... treatment of neurological, autoimmune, and rare orphan diseases, today announced that the U.S. ...
(Date:3/13/2020)... ... March 13, 2020 , ... According to the American Academy ... and possibly be transmitted by aerosol or direct contact with the conjunctiva, the ... special precautions to avoid contracting the coronavirus. Touching the eyes while inserting contact ...
(Date:3/10/2020)... ... March 10, 2020 , ... Cytonus Therapeutics Inc. today announced ... Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Portfolio Innovation and Investor Relations at Allergan, ... we are extremely pleased to welcome Manisha Narasimhan as an independent director," commented ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2020)... TORONTO (PRWEB) , ... February 21, 2020 , ... ... innovation to improve their manufacturing operations in order to adapt to new approaches ... keep up with the increasing demand for personalized medicine and therapies. But with ...
(Date:2/19/2020)... ... February 19, 2020 , ... Red Nucleus, a leading provider ... announced the opening of a new office in Tokyo, Japan. The new office ... Nucleus announced the new office in response to customer requests for regional coverage. ...
(Date:2/11/2020)... ... 11, 2020 , ... Synagro Technologies, Inc. , the ... that the City of Fort Worth has partnered with Synagro of Texas-CDR (Synagro) ... of 2020, Synagro will assume operation of the city’s current biosolids management facility ...
(Date:2/5/2020)... , ... February 05, 2020 , ... Rare Disease ... sponsored by The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), to raise awareness amongst the ... rarediseaseday.org ). The Balancing Act’s “Behind The Mystery” rare disease series will ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: