Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Gene That Keeps Species Apart

Date:
June 16, 2004
Source:
Public Library Of Science
Summary:
Nearly 150 years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, biologists are still debating how new species emerge from old--and even the definition of species itself. Darwin demurred from offering a hard and fast definition, suggesting that such a thing was "undiscoverable."

Nearly 150 years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, biologists are still debating how new species emerge from old--and even the definition of species itself. Darwin demurred from offering a hard and fast definition, suggesting that such a thing was "undiscoverable."

In this issue of PLoS Biology, Daniel Barbash and colleagues identify a true speciation gene in the fruitfly Drosophila.

One of the more enduring definitions characterizes organisms as distinct reproductive units and species as groups of individuals that can interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring. The lack of genetic exchange between species, called reproductive isolation, lies at the heart of this definition.

At the heart of reproductive isolation is a phenomenon called hybrid incompatibility, in which closely related species are capable of mating but produce inviable or sterile offspring.

The classic example of hybrid incompatibility is the male donkeyfemale horse cross, which yields a sterile mule, but many other cases have been documented among mammals, and thousands of plant crosses produce infertile offspring.

To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of reproductive isolation, biologists must first identify candidate hybrid incompatibility genes.

Species- or lineage- specific functional divergence is an essential trait of these genes. (That is, the genes evolve different functions after the species diverge from their common ancestor.) While several such candidate genes have been identified in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, none has been shown to display this functional divergence.

Now, working with D. melanogaster and its sibling species D. simulans and D. mauritiana, Daniel Barbash, Philip Awadalla, and Aaron Tarone establish the functional divergence of a candidate hybrid compatibility gene and confirm its status as a true speciation gene.

###

Citation: Barbash DA, Awadalla P, Tarone AM (2004) Functional divergence caused by ancient positive selection of a Drosophila hybrid incompatibility locus. PLoS Biol 2(6):e142. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020142.

The published articles will be accessible to your readers at: http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020142.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library Of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Public Library Of Science. "A Gene That Keeps Species Apart." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040616065243.htm>.
Public Library Of Science. (2004, June 16). A Gene That Keeps Species Apart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040616065243.htm
Public Library Of Science. "A Gene That Keeps Species Apart." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040616065243.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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