Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identification Of Mating Genes Provides Clues To Evolution

Date:
July 2, 2001
Source:
University Of Chicago Medical Center
Summary:
Newly identified "mating genes" in the mustard plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) may provide a powerful tool for understanding of the interactions that foster self-recognition and the evolution of new species. These mating genes code for all the major protein components of the Arabidopsis pollen coat.

Newly identified "mating genes" in the mustard plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) may provide a powerful tool for understanding of the interactions that foster self-recognition and the evolution of new species. These mating genes code for all the major protein components of the Arabidopsis pollen coat.

Related Articles


These genes, whose protein products mediate mating through species-species specific recognition and initiation of pollination, were found to reside primarily in two chromosomal clusters by a team of researchers from the University of Chicago.

"We now have an ingredients list to work from. The identification of this complete set of pollen coat proteins allows us to start looking at one protein at a time and find each one's role in self-identification," said Jacob A. Mayfield, Ph.D., lead author of the paper. "Not much is known about the positive interactions that make mating possible. Most of what we know now is negative, what prevents pollination."

To understand the evolution of these mating clusters the researchers looked at comparable gene clusters in differing ecotypes of Arabidopsis. Ecotypes are populations of plants within a species that have adapted to different growing conditions. Like races, ecotypes are all the same species, but have distinctive subsets of characteristics.

"Genes that are involved in self-recognition systems, like plant or animal immunity, are often found in clusters," said Daphne Preuss, Ph.D., professor of genetics and cell biology at the University of Chicago and Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. "This arrangement is seen in the most rapidly changing proteins known. The clustering of these genes allows the plant or animal to generate diversity through gene duplication and rearrangement."

"The ecotype clusters showed great variation but all the genes in the cluster were functioning genes," said Aretha Fiebig, graduate student in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Chicago and co-author of the paper. "Genes with deleterious mutations that destroy function are common in rapidly evolving clusters. The fact that all the pollen coat genes were functional implies that all of these proteins work together and are essential to successful mating."

When the team looked at the comparable cluster in the closely related species, Brassica oleracea, they found a remarkably fast rate of divergence. The clusters were easily identifiable, as the corresponding genes shared the same structure and characteristics and the flanking genes shared 75 percent identity. But the similarity ended there.

"The mating genes were almost impossible to align," said Preuss. "These species are separated by only about 12 million years. They are as closely related as humans and chimps. The rapid divergence of these mating genes across strain and species boundaries is of significant evolutionary interest."

"With the power of Arabidopsis' genetics, including our ability to generate mutants, a set of well-studied strains and closely related species and now, the complete set of pollen coat proteins, we hope to significantly advance our understanding of the control of mate recognition," said Preuss.

Sarah E. Johnstone, an undergraduate student funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, completed a portion of this study as part of her honors thesis in biology.

This work was supported by a National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant for undergraduate education and a National Science Foundation grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Chicago Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Chicago Medical Center. "Identification Of Mating Genes Provides Clues To Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010702085525.htm>.
University Of Chicago Medical Center. (2001, July 2). Identification Of Mating Genes Provides Clues To Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010702085525.htm
University Of Chicago Medical Center. "Identification Of Mating Genes Provides Clues To Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010702085525.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins