Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What's The Difference Between Mice And Men?

Date:
November 14, 2006
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
It's often said that a man shares 30% of his genes with a banana, rather more with a fruit fly, and yet more with a mouse; so why are these organisms so different if many of their genes are so similar? In a recent issue of PLoS Biology, Pat Simpson and her colleagues for Cambridge University use fruit flies to shed some light on the problem.

In the wing discs of Drosophila species, the divergent activities of proneural enhancers (orange versus green nuclei) contribute to the evolution of the adult bristle patterns.
Credit: Image: Marcellini et al. / PLoS Biology

It's often said that a man shares 30% of his genes with a banana, rather more with a fruit fly, and yet more with a mouse; so why are these organisms so different if many of their genes are so similar? In a recent issue of PLoS Biology, Pat Simpson and her colleagues for Cambridge University use fruit flies to shed some light on the problem.

Genes have two parts: a bit that codes for proteins (this part is similar in different organisms) and a part that regulates the gene, which determines when, where, and how strongly the genes are turned on.

To the layman, one fruit fly looks much like another, but there are, in fact, nearly 4,000 distinct species differing in characteristics such as the pattern of veins on the wings or the position of bristles on the thorax. These differences have evolved over millions of years, since the first ancestral fruit fly arose--and it's not just flies. Every species--man, mouse (and bananas)--has evolved a unique form, correlated with subtle differences in their genes, but where in the genes do these subtle differences lie? By comparing genes between two closely related species of flies, one with two rows of bristles on the thorax and one with four rows, these workers homed in on a short part of the control region of one particular gene that appeared to be different. By swapping the bit around, they could turn a two rows fly into a four rows fly.

These results show that slight changes in the control regions of genes lead to slight changes in the organism, and accumulation of such small differences may result in the creation of a new species. While this is widely accepted by evolutionary biologists, actual examples directly linking small changes in regulatory parts of genes to morphological differences have been scarce. While it may not be possible to swap regulatory sequences to turn a man into a banana, or even into a mouse, examination of these sequences may tell us how different organisms evolved.

Citation: Marcellini S, Simpson P (2006) Two or four bristles: Functional evolution of an enhancer of scute in Drosophilidae. PLoS Biol 4(12): e386. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio. 0040386.


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. "What's The Difference Between Mice And Men?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061113180424.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2006, November 14). What's The Difference Between Mice And Men?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061113180424.htm
Public Library of Science. "What's The Difference Between Mice And Men?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061113180424.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Conservationists Face Uphill PR Battle With New Shark Rules

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) New conservation measures for shark fishing face an uphill PR battle in the fight to slow shark extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Lion Cubs the Pride of San Diego Zoo

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 13, 2014) Roars of excitement as a proud lioness shows off her four cubs at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
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