Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular Evolution: Mice Given Bat-like Forelimbs Through Gene Switch

Date:
January 16, 2008
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have successfully switched the mouse Prx1 gene regulatory element with the Prx1 gene regulatory region from a bat -- and although these two species are separated by millions of years of evolution -- the resulting transgenic mice displayed abnormally long forelimbs.

Shown above is an example of the bat species whose DNA was used to insert into the mice in the study.
Credit: Image courtesy of Dr. Richard Behringer, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

A research team led by Dr. Richard Behringer at MD Anderson Cancer Center reports that they have successfully switched the mouse Prx1 gene regulatory element with the Prx1 gene regulatory region from a bat -- and although these two species are separated by millions of years of evolution -- the resulting transgenic mice displayed abnormally long forelimbs.

While forelimb length is just one of several key morphological changes that occurred during the evolution of the bat wing, this unprecedented finding demonstrates that evolution can be driven by changes in the patterns of gene expression, rather than solely by changes in the genes, themselves.

Prx1 is a paired-box homeodomain transcription factor, with an established role in limb bone growth. Dr. Behringer and colleagues identified a conserved Prx1 enhancer domain, which regulates expression of Prx1 in the developing forelimb.

To study the evolutionary contribution of the Prx1 enhancer to the morphological differences between the bat and mouse forelimb, Dr. Behringer and colleagues replaced the endogenous mouse Prx1 enhancer with that of the bat. The transgenic mice showed higher expression levels of Prx1 in the perichondrium, increased chondrocyte proliferation, and ultimately, longer forelimbs.

Dr. Behringer describes the significance of his finding as such: "Darwin suggested that "successive slight modifications" would ultimately result in the evolution of diverse limb morphologies, like a hand, wing, or fin. The genetic change we engineered in mice may be one of those "slight modifications" to evolve a mammalian wing."

This research was published In the January 15th issue of Genes and Development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Molecular Evolution: Mice Given Bat-like Forelimbs Through Gene Switch." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080114173923.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2008, January 16). Molecular Evolution: Mice Given Bat-like Forelimbs Through Gene Switch. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080114173923.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Molecular Evolution: Mice Given Bat-like Forelimbs Through Gene Switch." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080114173923.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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