Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What's The Difference Between A Human And A Fruit Fly?

Date:
May 15, 2008
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Fruit flies are dramatically different from humans not in their number of genes, but in the number of protein interactions in their bodies, according to scientists who have developed a new way of estimating the total number of interactions between proteins in any organism.

Humans have approximately 10 times more protein interactions than the simple fruit fly, a new study has found.
Credit: iStockphoto

Fruit flies are dramatically different from humans not in their number of genes, but in the number of protein interactions in their bodies, according to scientists who have developed a new way of estimating the total number of interactions between proteins in any organism.

Related Articles


The new research, published May 13, 2008 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, shows that humans have approximately 10 times more protein interactions than the simple fruit fly, and 20 times as many as simple, single-cell yeast organisms.

This contradicts comparisons between the numbers of genes in different organisms, which yield surprising results: humans have approximately 24,000 genes, but fruit flies are not far behind, with approximately 14,000 genes.

The interaction between different proteins is behind all physiological systems in the human body. When the body digests food, responds to a change in temperature, or fights off an infection, numerous combinations of protein interactions are involved. However, until now it has been impossible to calculate the numbers of interactions that take place within different organisms.

Professor Michael Stumpf from Imperial College London's Department of Life Sciences, one of the paper's authors, explains the significance of the new study, saying:

"Scientists have believed for some time that the complexity of an organism's protein interactions determine its biological complexity, but until now it's been impossible to put a number on the size of one organism's interaction network compared to another, as relatively little work has been done to identify and map these interactions."

Scientists refer to the total number of protein interactions in the body as the "human interactome", likening it to the human genome, which is most commonly associated with giving us our human traits.

Professor Stumpf adds: "Understanding the human genome definitely does not go far enough to explain what makes us different from more simple creatures. Our study indicates that protein interactions could hold one of the keys to unraveling how one organism is differentiated from another."

The researchers devised a mathematical tool which allows them to predict the total size of an organism's protein interaction network based on currently available, incomplete data.

The researchers' next steps will be to make much more detailed predictions based on careful comparisons between species. This will be crucial in order to understand, for example, why some fungal species, such as baker's yeast are important in the production of bread and beer, while other closely related species cause fungal infections with high mortality rates.

The study was carried out by scientists at Imperial College London, the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Biology in Germany and the University of Arhus in Denmark.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Michael P. H. Stumpf, Thomas Thorne, Eric de Silva, Ronald Stewart, Hyeong Jun An, Michael Lappe, and Carsten Wiuf. From the Cover: Estimating the size of the human interactome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 6959-6964; published online as doi: 10.1073/pnas.0708078105

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "What's The Difference Between A Human And A Fruit Fly?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512172904.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2008, May 15). What's The Difference Between A Human And A Fruit Fly?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512172904.htm
Imperial College London. "What's The Difference Between A Human And A Fruit Fly?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080512172904.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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