Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DNA Clues To Reproductive Behavior

Date:
May 27, 2008
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
A species of wild yeast goes through a cycle of sexual reproduction once in every 1,000 asexual generations, according to new research. The study focused on the wild yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus, which is able to reproduce both sexually and asexually. The scientific team used this yeast to examine how sexual and asexual reproduction cause different types of variations in an organism's DNA sequence.

Saccharomyces cells.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A species of wild yeast goes through a cycle of sexual reproduction once in every 1,000 asexual generations, according to new research by Imperial biologists published in the PNAS journal in April.

The study focused on the wild yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus, which is able to reproduce both sexually and asexually. The scientific team used this yeast to examine how sexual and asexual reproduction cause different types of variations in an organism's DNA sequence. A DNA sequence is like an organism's 'blueprint' - a complete set of chemical instructions needed for it to grow and function.

The researchers analysed the DNA sequences of wild yeast and discovered how infrequently the yeast reproduces sexually by noting the unique 'signatures' sexual and asexual reproduction leave in the yeast's DNA sequence.

When the yeast reproduces asexually a mother cell generates a bud, which becomes detached, creating a new daughter cell, identical to the mother cell. During the budding process, the original DNA of the mother cell is copied, and occasionally mistakes are made, known as mutations. As these mutations occur in every generation, they can be used to distinguish asexual lineages and their total number can be used to estimate the number of asexual generations in a population.

On the other hand, if the yeast reproduces sexually, the mother cell's genetic material undergoes a process of division and recombination to create a new living organism. As a result of this recombining process new combinations of genes can be found in the offspring's DNA sequence, which indicate that the new organism was created by sexual, as opposed to asexual, reproduction.

Isheng Jason Tsai, a postgraduate student in Imperial's Department of Life Sciences, one of the authors of the paper, explains why being able to identify when different reproductive methods have occurred is important:

"Finding the unique signatures left by different types of reproduction on the yeast's DNA gives us valuable insights into the life cycle of this species, which is otherwise very difficult to study. This research has shed new light on the study of microbes, and their patterns of reproduction."

Jason and his colleagues analysed variations in the DNA sequence of one particular chromosome in two populations of the wild yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus.

By analysing the yeast's DNA sequences, the researchers were able to estimate rates of DNA variation caused by asexual reproduction, and rates of DNA variation caused by sexual reproduction. Both these two rates increase with the number of individuals in the population and can be used to estimate population size.

Comparing the estimates from these two different types of DNA variation enabled them to conclude that S. paradoxus goes through a sexual cycle approximately once every thousand asexual generations.

The paper, "Population genomics of the wild yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus: Quantifying the life cycle" was published online on 14 March. Download the paper.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "DNA Clues To Reproductive Behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080523200910.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2008, May 27). DNA Clues To Reproductive Behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080523200910.htm
Imperial College London. "DNA Clues To Reproductive Behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080523200910.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 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