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Tale Of Two Snails Reveals Secrets About The Biochemistry Of Evolution

Date:
November 8, 2008
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers in Spain are reporting deep new insights into how evolution changes the biochemistry of living things, helping them to adapt to new environments. Their study, based on an analysis of proteins produced by two populations of marine snails, reveals chemical differences that give one population a survival-of-the fittest edge for life in its cold, wave-exposed environment. 
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A study of two populations of marine snails provides new insights into how evolutionary changes works on the chemical level.
Credit: American Chemical Society

Researchers in Spain are reporting deep new insights into how evolution changes the biochemistry of living things, helping them to adapt to new environments. Their study, based on an analysis of proteins produced by two populations of marine snails, reveals chemical differences that give one population a survival-of-the fittest edge for life in its cold, wave-exposed environment. 

In the new study, Emilio Rolán-Alvarez and colleagues note that scientists long have known that animals of the same species can have different physical characteristics enabling them to survive in different habitats. One famous example is the different beak sizes and shapes that evolved in Darwin's finches, enabling the birds to live on different foods in different habitats on the Galapagos Islands. Until now, however, scientists knew little about the invisible biochemical changes behind such adaptations.

To help fill those gaps, the scientists studied two populations of marine snails that live only a few feet apart on the Spanish coast. One group lives on the lower shore, typically submerged in water and protected from large changes in temperature. The other group lives on the upper shore exposed to daily changes in temperature, humidity and other environmental conditions. Tests with mass spectrometry showed major differences in about 12 percent of the proteins in the snail, a subset of proteins that apparently enables the snails to survive in different environmental conditions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Marti%u0301nez-Ferna%u0301ndez et al. Proteomic Comparison between Two Marine Snail Ecotypes Reveals Details about the Biochemistry of Adaptation. Journal of Proteome Research, November 7, 2008 DOI: 10.1021/pr700863e

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Tale Of Two Snails Reveals Secrets About The Biochemistry Of Evolution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103124324.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2008, November 8). Tale Of Two Snails Reveals Secrets About The Biochemistry Of Evolution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103124324.htm
American Chemical Society. "Tale Of Two Snails Reveals Secrets About The Biochemistry Of Evolution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103124324.htm (accessed May 22, 2015).

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