Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mosquito Genes Explain Response To Climate Change

Date:
April 26, 2007
Source:
University of Oregon
Summary:
Scientists studying mosquitoes have produced the first chromosomal map that shows regions of chromosomes that activate -- and are apparently evolving -- in animals in response to climate change. The map will allow researchers to narrow their focus to identify specific genes that control the seasonal development of animals.

University of Oregon researchers studying mosquitoes have produced the first chromosomal map that shows regions of chromosomes that activate -- and are apparently evolving -- in animals in response to climate change.

The map will allow researchers to narrow their focus to identify specific genes that control the seasonal development of animals. Such information will help predict which animals may survive in changing climates and identify which disease-carrying vectors may move northward, allowing for the production of appropriate vaccines, said William E. Bradshaw and Christina M. Holzapfel, researchers in the department of biology and members of the UO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

"For the first time, we are moving down the track to identify genes that animals use to control their seasonal development," Bradshaw said. "Response to day length is often the primary cue that organisms use for going dormant, and although human beings are not as strongly seasonal as other animals, there are nonetheless seasonal components to our health and welfare just as there are in plants and animals."

The chromosomal map for the mosquito Wyeomyia smithii, which develop within the carnivorous leaves of pitcher plants, appears online ahead of publication in the May issue of the journal Genetics. The UO researchers identified regions on three chromosomes that respond to length of day, which scientists call photoperiodism. Two of the chromosomes also have overlapping gene expression that tells the species to go dormant, which they must do to survive.

"This chromosomal map is drawing a lot of interest in terms of understanding the genetic response of animals to rapid climate change and also to understanding the metabolic processes involved in disease intervention in humans and other complex organisms," Holzapfel said.

Bradshaw and Holzapfel first showed that the mosquito has changed genetically in response to recent, rapid climate change and now uses shorter, more southern day lengths to initiate dormancy in a landmark study that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Dec. 4, 2001).

The new study -- funded by the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health -- doesn't tell exactly which genes drive the mosquito's response, "but it does tell us in what parts of the genome we must look to identify the mechanism of photoperiodism," Bradshaw said. Collaborative studies already are underway to determine the same genes in stickleback fish at the UO and in fruit flies at the University of Pennsylvania.

"The response to climate warming in animal populations has penetrated to the level of the gene," Bradshaw said. "It affects development, reproduction and dormancy, and this response is occurring in diverse groups of animals from insects to birds and mammals."

The chromosomal map was created using mosquitoes that had developed in precisely controlled environmental rooms that allow the UO researchers to simulate climatic conditions occurring in nature anywhere in the world, from the tropics to the polar regions.

The newly created map contains 900 million DNA base pairs. There are three billion base pairs in humans. As various genome maps are being completed, scientists now face the task of determining how genes interact and how they produce specific phenotypes (observable traits), which include photoperiodic response and dormancy.

"Climate changes already are extending the growing seasons," Holzapfel said. "We know that portions of the country are becoming warmer and dryer than others. Plants and animals are not confronting this stress directly, but rather they are flowering, reproducing and going dormant at different times of the year than they used to. Many species will be unable to change quickly enough and will become extinct."

"Climate change will change the seasonal ecology of many animals," Bradshaw said. "Rather than having a bully coming to beat you up at recess everyday, you can take a body-building course and beat up the bully, or you simply can take recess at a different time. Many organisms are taking the latter course, using day length to guide them."

Co-authors of the study with Bradshaw and Holzapfel were former doctoral students Derrick Mathias, who currently is with the Kenya Medical Research Institute in Kisumu, Kenya, and Lucien Jacky, who now is at the University of California, Irvine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oregon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oregon. "Mosquito Genes Explain Response To Climate Change." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423130327.htm>.
University of Oregon. (2007, April 26). Mosquito Genes Explain Response To Climate Change. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423130327.htm
University of Oregon. "Mosquito Genes Explain Response To Climate Change." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070423130327.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 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:

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