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.

Related Articles


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 January 25, 2015 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 January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

Newsy (Jan. 24, 2015) A string of black bear attacks has Florida officials considering lifting the ban on hunting the animals to control their population. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Ebola Killing Large Portion Of Ape Population

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) Experts estimate Ebola has wiped out one-third of the world&apos;s gorillas and chimpanzees. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Controversy Shrouds Captive Killer Whale in Miami

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) Activists hope the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) will label killer whales endangered, allowing lawyers to sue a Miami aquarium to release an orca into the wild after 44 years. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

‘Healthy’ Foods That Surprisingly Pack on Pounds

Buzz60 (Jan. 23, 2015) Some &apos;healthy&apos; foods are actually fattening. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) shines a light on the sneaky foods like nuts, seeds, granola, trail mix, avocados, guacamole, olive oil, peanut butter, fruit juices and salads that are good for you...but not so much for your waistline. Video provided by Buzz60
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