Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tracing Origins Of Critical Step In Animal Evolution: The Development Of Nerves

Date:
August 22, 2008
Source:
University of Queensland
Summary:
Researchers have traced the origins of one of the most important steps in animal evolution -- the development of nerves.

University of Queensland researchers have traced the origins of one of the most important steps in animal evolution – the development of nerves.

Professor Bernie Degnan, from UQ's School of Integrative Biology, together with PhD student Gemma Richards and colleagues from France, have traced the evolution of the nerve cell by looking for pre-cursors in, of all places, the marine sponge.

"Sponges have one of the most ancient lineages and don't have nerve cells," Professor Degnan said.

"So we are pretty confident it was after the sponges split from trunk of the tree of life and sponges went one way and animals developed from the other, that nerves started to form.

"What we found in sponges though were the building blocks for nerves, something we never expected to find."

Professor Degnan said the science involved came from the relatively new area of paleogenomics, which is the study of ancestral genomes to paint a more accurate picture of animal evolution.

"What we have done is try to find the molecular building blocks of nerves, or what may be called the nerve's ancestor the proto-neuron," he said.

"We found sets of these genes in sponges, when we really didn't expect it.

"But what was really cool is we took some of these genes and expressed them in frog and flies and the sponge gene became functional – the sponge gene directed the formation of nerves in these more complex animals.

The research was published recently in the scientific journal Current Biology and stems from work done by Professor Degnan's lab in mapping the entire genome of the sea sponge Amphimedon queenslandica.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Queensland. "Tracing Origins Of Critical Step In Animal Evolution: The Development Of Nerves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080820163117.htm>.
University of Queensland. (2008, August 22). Tracing Origins Of Critical Step In Animal Evolution: The Development Of Nerves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080820163117.htm
University of Queensland. "Tracing Origins Of Critical Step In Animal Evolution: The Development Of Nerves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080820163117.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
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