Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First-ever 'Wanderlust Gene' Found In Tiny Bony Fish

Date:
August 5, 2009
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
A gene previously associated with physical traits is also dictating behavior in a tiny fish widely regarded as a living model of Darwin's natural selection theory, according to a new study.

A male marine stickleback in reproductive condition with complete armour plates.
Credit: Courtesy of Rowan Barrett, UBC

A gene previously associated with physical traits is also dictating behaviour in a tiny fish widely regarded as a living model of Darwin's natural selection theory, according to a University of British Columbia study.

Related Articles


Measuring three to 10 centimetres, stickleback fish originated in the ocean but began populating freshwater lakes and streams following the last ice age. Over the past 15,000 years, freshwater sticklebacks have lost their bony lateral plates, or "armour," in these new environments. Scientists have identified a mutant form of a gene, or allele, that prohibits growth of armour and is commonly found in freshwater sticklebacks but exists in less than one per cent of their marine counterparts.

Now UBC PhD candidate Rowan Barrett and colleagues from UBC's Dept. of Zoology have found that the gene may also be contributing to the fish's tendency to relocate instead of adjusting to their surroundings – the first time a gene associated with this type of behaviour has been identified. Their findings are published today in the journal Biology Letters.

"Contrary to our assumption, the low-armour allele is not linked to a preference for fresh water, or low salinity," says Barrett. "Instead, we found a strong association between having the allele and the fish's inclination to move into different salinities – a sort of 'wanderlust gene,' if you will – instead of staying put and acclimatizing to the current salinity."

"The combination of physical and behavioural traits could explain why the low-armour allele keeps turning up during marine sticklebacks' 'invasion' of freshwater habitats," says Barrett.

"The new behavioural association we've identified may also shed light on why there's still a small but constant population of armour-less sticklebacks in the sea despite the high predation there. Sticklebacks with the mutant allele just like to go to new places."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "First-ever 'Wanderlust Gene' Found In Tiny Bony Fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804193236.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2009, August 5). First-ever 'Wanderlust Gene' Found In Tiny Bony Fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804193236.htm
University of British Columbia. "First-ever 'Wanderlust Gene' Found In Tiny Bony Fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090804193236.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 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
Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) — A long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period was discovered in China. Researchers think it could answer mythology questions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) — According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. 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