Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Marsupials And Humans Share Same Genetic Imprinting That Evolved 150 Million Years Ago

Date:
July 15, 2008
Source:
University of Melbourne
Summary:
Research published in Nature Genetics has established an identical mechanism of genetic imprinting, a process involved in marsupial and human fetal development, which evolved 150 million years ago.

Kangaroo with a joey in her pouch. Researchers have discovered an identical mechanism of genetic imprinting, a process involved in marsupial and human fetal development, which evolved 150 million years ago.
Credit: iStockphoto/Chad Davis

Research published in Nature Genetics by a team of international scientists including the University of Melbourne, Department of Zoology, has established an identical mechanism of genetic imprinting, a process involved in marsupial and human fetal development, which evolved 150 million years ago.

Related Articles


“This paper shows that we share a common genetic imprinting mechanism which has been active for about 150 million years despite the differences in reproductive strategies between marsupials and humans,” said Professor Geoffrey Shaw of the Department of Zoology at the University of Melbourne, a coauthor on the paper.

Professor Marilyn Renfree who lead the University of Melbourne research team says marsupials give birth to very small young that develop mainly within the pouch while humans have more developed young at birth that undergo a large period of growth in the uterus.

“Our team provided vital samples and genetic resources from marsupials to enable this study and contributed our world-leading expertise on marsupial biology and genomics to the interpretation of the results,” Professor Renfree said.

Genomic imprinting is a mechanism that regulates gene expression in the developing fetus and plays a major role in regulating its growth.

“We all carry two copies of every gene in our DNA, one inherited from our mother and one from our father. So for each gene we have a ‘back-up’. Normally, both copies of the gene are used for development, but in some special cases the gene from either our mother or father is switched off, so we only have one active copy. This phenomenon is known as genomic imprinting,” explained Dr Andrew Pask also from the Department of Zoology.

“Because there is no back up copy, when errors occur in this process, it results in many human genetic diseases mainly affecting growth and brain function.”

Pask explains that a key gene regulating fetal growth is the Insulin-like-growth-factor-2 or IGF2 which is an imprinted gene.

“We inherit a single working copy of this gene from our fathers, while the copy we inherit from our mothers is switched off. The switch for this gene is controlled by another gene known as H19. The H19 gene is unusual gene that makes a microRNA and not a protein.”

“MicroRNA genes have been sought in marsupials for years, and now for the first time one has been discovered,” Dr Pask said.

Pask explains that the microRNA structure is virtually identical to that of mice and humans, but there was no evidence of this gene or a similar microRNA in the more distantly related platypus.

The study was a large team effort involving researchers in the UK, from the Babraham Institute, the Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge, in Australia, from the University of Melbourne, and the USA, from the University of Texas at San Antonio (all part of the Sequence Analysis of Vertebrate Orthologous Imprinted Regions ‘SAVOIR’ consortium).

“Understanding how genetic imprinting evolved is important,” said Dr Shaw, “It helps us to determine how the mechanism works and what we can do to avoid the development of a number of human diseases.”


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Melbourne. "Marsupials And Humans Share Same Genetic Imprinting That Evolved 150 Million Years Ago." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715090413.htm>.
University of Melbourne. (2008, July 15). Marsupials And Humans Share Same Genetic Imprinting That Evolved 150 Million Years Ago. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715090413.htm
University of Melbourne. "Marsupials And Humans Share Same Genetic Imprinting That Evolved 150 Million Years Ago." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080715090413.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Dog-Loving Astronaut Wins Best Photo of 2015

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) Retired astronaut and television host, Leland Melvin, snuck his dogs into the NASA studio so they could be in his official photo. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us, the secret is out. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Rarest Cat on Planet Caught Attacking Monkeys on Camera

Buzz60 (Jan. 30, 2015) An African Golden Cat, the rarest large cat on the planet was recently caught on camera by scientists trying to study monkeys. The cat comes out of nowhere to attack those monkeys. Patrick Jones (@Patrick_E_Jones) has the rest. 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