Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Development Puts An End To Evolution Of Endless Forms

Date:
October 25, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have put forward a simple model of development and gene regulation that is capable of explaining patterns observed in the distribution of morphologies and body plans (or, more generally, phenotypes).

Researchers have put forward a simple model of development and gene regulation that is capable of explaining patterns observed in the distribution of morphologies and body plans (or, more generally, phenotypes).

The study, by Elhanan Borenstein of the Santa Fe Institute and Stanford University and David Krakauer of the Santa Fe Institute was published in this month's issue of PLoS Computational Biology.

Nature truly displays a bewildering variety of shapes and forms. Yet, with all its magnificence, this diversity still represents only a tiny fraction of the endless 'space' of possibilities, and observed phenotypes actually occupy only small, dense patches in the abstract phenotypic space. Borenstein and Krakauer demonstrate that the sparseness of variety in nature can be attributed to the interactions between multiple genes and genetic controls involved in the development of organisms – a much simpler explanation than previously suggested.

Borenstein and Krakauer further integrated their model with phylogenetic dynamics, allowing developmental plans to evolve over time. They showed that this hybrid developmental-phylogenetic model reproduces patterns that are observed in the fossil record, including increasing variation between taxonomic groups, accompanied by decreasing variation within groups. This pattern is consistent with the Cambrian radiation associated with a rapid proliferation of highly disparate, multicellular animals, and suggests that much of the variation seen today is as a result of simpler genetic controls dating from much earlier in evolutionary time.

The findings presented in this study also bear directly on issues of convergence (when very different organisms independently evolve similar features). By including a model of development, rather different genotypes can produce very similar phenotypes. Consequently, convergent evolution, which the vast space of genotypes would suggest to be rare, is allowed to become much more common.

One of the paradoxical implications of this study has been to show how innovations in development that lead to an overall increase in the number of accessible phenotypes, can lead to a reduction in selective variance. In other words, while the potential for novel phenotypes increases, the fraction of space these phenotypes occupies tends to contract.

They concluded that "The theory presented in our paper complements the view of development as a key component in the production of endless forms and highlights the crucial role of development in constraining (as well as generating) biotic diversity."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Borenstein E, Krakauer DC. An End to Endless Forms: Epistasis, Phenotype Distribution Bias, and Nonuniform Evolution. PLoS Comput Biol, 2008; 4 (10): e1000202 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000202

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Development Puts An End To Evolution Of Endless Forms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023222252.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, October 25). Development Puts An End To Evolution Of Endless Forms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023222252.htm
Public Library of Science. "Development Puts An End To Evolution Of Endless Forms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081023222252.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