Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What causes hybrid vigor? Researchers find genetic 'noise' caused by surprising variation in gene activity

Date:
July 22, 2010
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Plant scientists have provided a new solution to an old debate on why species hybrids can be more vigorous than their parents. The researchers found a type of genetic "noise" caused by a surprising degree of variation in gene activity even for highly similar traits in closely related species. They found that when species hybridize, some of the variation in gene activity may be canceled out, leading to greater vigor.

Phenotype of flowers with various CYC and RAD genotypes.
Credit: Rosas U, Barton NH, Copsey L, Barbier de Reuille P, Coen E. Cryptic Variation between Species and the Basis of Hybrid Performance. PLoS Biology, 2010; 8 (7): e1000429 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000429

Plant scientists at the John Innes Centre have provided a new solution to an old debate on why species hybrids can be more vigourous than their parents.

Related Articles


In a study published in the online open access journal PLoS Biology, the researchers found a type of genetic "noise" caused by a surprising degree of variation in gene activity even for highly similar traits in closely related species. They found that when species hybridise, some of the variation in gene activity may be cancelled out, leading to greater vigour.

Enrico Coen and colleagues analysed the trait that causes flower asymmetry in two closely related species of snapdragon. They measured the activity of two relevant genes and its effect on the trait. The "noise" or variation they identified only has a very minor effect on a species for any single gene, but the collective effect for many genes could be substantial, reducing overall species performance. They suggest that natural selection may be unable to eliminate the noise they identified. Hybridisation, however, might partly eliminate the noise.

"This is the first study that analyses the consequences of variations in gene expression on conserved traits in closely related species," said Professor Coen, from the John Innes Centre.

The results show that hybrids might be expected to exhibit increased performance in basic traits such as growth. However, they also show that in the longer term, other traits such as those involved in sexual reproduction might be expected to perform less well, accounting for reduced fertility of hybrids.

"Gene expression levels are free to drift around during evolution within particular bounds," said Professor Coen. "But the cumulative effects of variation explain the conflicting phenomena of hybrid superiority and inferiority."

This explanation of hybrid vigour covers natural species as well as domesticated varieties. The findings avoid some of the pitfalls of previous explanations.

"Breeders already know there is no magic hybrid vigour gene, otherwise they would have used it by now," said Professor Coen. "What our study shows is how and why hybridisation can have such a strong impact on performance," said Professor Coen.

This was supported by a Marie Curie grant for early stage training and the BBSRC-John Innes Centre PhD Rotation Program. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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. Rosas U, Barton NH, Copsey L, Barbier de Reuille P, Coen E. Cryptic Variation between Species and the Basis of Hybrid Performance. PLoS Biology, 2010; 8 (7): e1000429 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000429

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "What causes hybrid vigor? Researchers find genetic 'noise' caused by surprising variation in gene activity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720212921.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2010, July 22). What causes hybrid vigor? Researchers find genetic 'noise' caused by surprising variation in gene activity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720212921.htm
Public Library of Science. "What causes hybrid vigor? Researchers find genetic 'noise' caused by surprising variation in gene activity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100720212921.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) The capture of deadly Japanese pufferfish in the waters of Crimea is causing concern for fishermen and scientists alike. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Terrifying Black Seadevil Fish Captured on First-of-Its Kind Video

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) An aquarium captures a first-of-its kind video of a notoriously camera-shy fish that’s also not so camera-friendly. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

Red Panda Cubs Explore the Bratislava Zoo

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Four-month old Red Panda twins Pim and Pam still rely on their mother for breast milk at the Bratislava Zoo in Slovakia, but the precocious cubs have begun to branch out to solid foods, as well. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
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