Posts Tagged ‘DNA’

DNA Study Unlocks Mystery To Diverse Traits In Dogs

June 23, 2008

What makes a pointer point, a sheep dog herd, and a retriever retrieve? Why do Yorkshire terriers live longer than Great Danes? And how can a tiny Chihuahua possibly be related to a Great Dane?

Dogs vary in size, shape, color, coat length and behavior more than any other animal and until now, this variance has largely been unexplained. Now, scientists have developed a method to identify the genetic basis for this diversity that may have far-reaching benefits for dogs and their owners.

In the cover story of tomorrow’s edition of the science journal Genetics, research reveals locations in a dog’s DNA that contain genes that scientists believe contribute to differences in body and skull shape, weight, fur color and length — and possibly even behavior, trainability and longevity.

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Identifying Canadian Freshwater Fish Through DNA Barcodes

June 19, 2008

New research by Canadian scientists, led by Nicolas Hubert at the Université Laval in Québec brings some good news for those interested in the conservation of a number of highly-endangered species of Canadian fish.

The use of DNA for automated species-level identification of earth biodiversity has recently moved from being an unreachable dream to a potential reality in the very near future. The potential of mitochondrial DNA in achieving this target has been successfully assessed for all of the Canadian freshwater fish communities and the approach bears some very exciting promise.

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Dinosaurs could help us beat the blues

June 11, 2008

Scientists at Aberdeen University have discovered a genetic link between dinosaurs and humans, which according to them could provide the key to developing a treatment for depression.

The team found that the component in human DNA, which activates depression, was also present in dinosaurs and would have helped determine their moods. The scientists identified the genetic “switches”, also known as “enhancers”, they believe turn off and on genes that control our behaviour and moods.

They believe that these enhancers may hold the key to understanding the causes of depression and shed light on why some people develop the illness while others, with a similar genetic make-up, do not.

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Common Aquatic Animal’s Genome Can Capture Foreign DNA

May 29, 2008

Long viewed as straitlaced spinsters, sexless freshwater invertebrate animals known as bdelloid rotifers may actually be far more promiscuous than anyone had imagined: Scientists at Harvard University have found that the genomes of these common creatures are chock-full of DNA from plants, fungi, bacteria, and animals.

The finding, described May 30 in the journal Science, could take the sex out of sexual reproduction, showing that bdelloid rotifers, all of which are female, can exchange genetic material via other means.

“Our result shows that genes can enter the genomes of bdelloid rotifers in a manner fundamentally different from that which, in other animals, results from the mating of males and females,” says Matthew S. Meselson, Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences in Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

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World First Discovery: Genes From Extinct Tasmanian Tiger Function In A Mouse

May 21, 2008

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and the University of Texas, USA, have extracted genes from the extinct Tasmanian tiger (thylacine), inserted it into a mouse and observed a biological function — this is a world first for the use of the DNA of an extinct species to induce a functional response in another living organism.

The results showed that the thylacine Col2a1 gene has a similar function in developing cartilage and bone development as the Col2a1 gene does in the mouse.

“This is the first time that DNA from an extinct species has been used to induce a functional response in another living organism,” said Dr Andrew Pask, RD Wright Fellow at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Zoology who led the research.

“As more and more species of animals become extinct, we are continuing to lose critical knowledge of gene function and their potential.”

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Multiple New Species Of Fruit Flies With Overlapping Niches Discovered

May 20, 2008

Evidence of physically similar species hidden within plant tissues suggest that diversity of neotropical herbivorous insects may not simply be a function of plant architecture, but may also reflect the great age and area of the neotropics.

In an article published in Science, Cornell College biology professor Marty Condon and coauthors turn current thought on plant-feeding insect diversity on its head. The study used an examination of fruit fly diversity in Latin America to conclude that typical niche diversity tracking can lead to undercounting of species. DNA analysis resulted in the discovery of multiple new species of fruit flies with overlapping niches.

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Platypus Genome Explains Animal’s Peculiar Features; Holds Clues To Evolution Of Mammals

May 8, 2008

The duck-billed platypus: part bird, part reptile, part mammal — and the genome to prove it.

An international consortium of scientists, led by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has decoded the genome of the platypus, showing that the animal’s peculiar mix of features is reflected in its DNA. An analysis of the genome, published today in the journal Nature, can help scientists piece together a more complete picture of the evolution of all mammals, including humans.

The platypus, classified as a mammal because it produces milk and is covered in a coat of fur, also possesses features of reptiles, birds and their common ancestors, along with some curious attributes of its own. One of only two mammals that lays eggs, the platypus also sports a duck-like bill that holds a sophisticated electrosensory system used to forage for food underwater. Males possess hind leg spurs that can deliver pain-inducing venom to its foes competing for a mate or territory during the breeding season.

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World’s first schizophrenic mouse developed by gene modification

April 18, 2008

From the dawn of medical history, mice have always been a tool, used for the development of medical treatments and understanding of human anatomy. In medical history, mice models have greatly helped medical scientists to study mainly, structure and diseases related to heart, kidney and genes.

Scientists at John Hopkins University in Baltimore have another success in medical history as they bred world’s first schizophrenic or mentally ill mouse.

For the first time we have an animal genetically engineered with a mental illness. It will allow researchers to study the disease and develop treatments.

To develop this mouse, scientists modified its DNA to mimic the gene responsible for schizophrenia. This gene was inserted into the egg cell and then fertilized by using surrogate mothers. Features, such as hyperactivity and depression, similar to those humans with schizophrenia, were detected in mice’s brain.

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Who was your dog’s great-granddaddy?

March 20, 2008

Thanks to a new test from Mars Veterinary, called the Wisdom Panel, I can discover the ancestry of any dog with a simple blood test. The premise behind the test is that the genes of purebred dogs contain signals, or specific DNA sequences, at different locations within the genome that uniquely identify the breed. By collecting blood samples from thousands of purebred dogs, Mars Veterinary was able to map these sequences and created a database containing the unique DNA signatures of more than 130 breeds. By comparing the DNA from a small blood sample from Fido Q. Mixed-breed to their database, Mars can tell me what breeds make up Fido.

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