PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

A fly's eye view of evolution

Research team led by Göttingen University investigates molecular basis of eye size variation in insects

A fly's eye view of evolution
2021-01-13
(Press-News.org) The fascinating compound eyes of insects consist of hundreds of individual eyes known as "facets". In the course of evolution, an enormous variety of eye sizes and shapes has emerged, often representing adaptations to different environmental conditions. Scientists, led by an Emmy Noether research group at the University of Göttingen, together with scientists from the Andalusian Centre for Developmental Biology (CABD) in Seville, have now shown that these differences can be caused by very different changes in the genome of fruit flies. The study was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Anyone who has seen hoverflies manoeuvring through the air and, quick as a flash, changing direction, has probably witnessed a mating attempt in which the male, with breath-taking accuracy, pursues a fast-moving female. To carry out this specialised visual task, the huge compound eyes of hoverflies consist of up to 6,000 individual facets. There are special individual facets directed towards the sky that show particularly high resolution. In contrast, bark beetles, which spend most of their time burrowing inside wood, rarely rely on visual information. Hence, they have developed very small eyes with a maximum of 300 facets. "This enormous diversity is particularly impressive because previous comparative studies have shown that the development of insect eyes, and for that matter our own eyes as well, is controlled by very similar processes and genes," says Dr Nico Posnien from Göttingen University, the leader of the study. "It is especially exciting to understand how, in the face of very similar genes, such a diversity of size and shape of eyes can arise." Since many of the proteins coded by genes work together in regulatory networks to control the development of complex organs, the question arises whether similar differences in eye size are caused by changes at comparable sites within the networks. As a model for their study, the researchers used several species of the genus Drosophila, some of which we would recognise as the pesky fruit flies found in everyone's kitchen.

A Drosophila species native to Mauritius has up to 250 facets more than a closely related species. Although the basic developmental processes are very similar in both studied species, numerous differences were found in their genomes that could explain the observed differences in eye size. Detailed analysis of eye development in both species suggests that changes in an important central node of the gene network lead to the formation of significantly larger eyes in the species native to Mauritius. "Interestingly, in similar work on other Drosophila species, changes in completely different nodes have been observed. Therefore, our data show that differences in the number of facets can be caused by very different mechanisms," summarises the first author of the study, Dr Elisa Buchberger from the University of Göttingen.

"The new data suggest that differences in the number of single eyes in different Drosophila species arose several times independently in evolution," says Dr Micael Reis. He is first author of a study published last year by the Göttingen research group. Overall, the work of the Göttingen group contributes to a better understanding of the evolution of complex organs. Some of the methods established in this research could also be applied to studies in animal and plant breeding, specifically looking for changes in the genome that influence complex traits, such as milk production or fruit size. "In a next step, we would like to understand whether the different eye sizes have an influence on vision, and find out whether they are related to the lifestyle of the different fly species," says Posnien.?

INFORMATION:

Original publication: Elisa Buchberger et al. Variation in pleiotropic hub gene expression is associated with interspecific differences in head shape and eye size in Drosophila. Molecular Biology and Evolution (2021). Doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa335

Text also available here:
https://academic.oup.com/mbe/advance-article/doi/10.1093/molbev/msaa335/6059229

Contact:
Dr Nico Posnien
University of Göttingen
Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach Institute of Zoology and Anthropology
Department of Developmental Biology
Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)551 3928662
Email: nposnie@gwdg.de http://www.posnien-lab.net
Twitter: @PosnienLab


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
A fly's eye view of evolution

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Flashing plastic ash completes recycling

Flashing plastic ash completes recycling
2021-01-13
HOUSTON - (Jan. 13, 2021) - Pyrolyzed plastic ash is worthless, but perhaps not for long. Rice University scientists have turned their attention to Joule heating of the material, a byproduct of plastic recycling processes. A strong jolt of energy flashes it into graphene. The technique by the lab of Rice chemist James Tour produces turbostratic graphene flakes that can be directly added to other substances like films of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) that better resist water in packaging and cement paste and concrete, dramatically increasing their compressive strength. ...

Pollinators not getting the 'buzz' they need in news coverage

Pollinators not getting the buzz they need in news coverage
2021-01-13
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- A dramatic decline in bees and other pollinating insects presents a threat to the global food supply, yet it's getting little attention in mainstream news. That's the conclusion of a study from researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, published this week in a special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study was based on a search of nearly 25 million news items from six prominent U.S. and global news sources, among them The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Associated Press. The study found "vanishingly low levels of attention to pollinator population topics" over several decades, even compared with ...

Wetland methane cycling increased during ancient global warming event

2021-01-13
Wetlands are the dominant natural source of atmospheric methane, a potent greenhouse gas which is second only to carbon dioxide in its importance to climate change. Anthropogenic climate change is expected to enhance methane emissions from wetlands, resulting in further warming. However, wetland methane feedbacks were not fully assessed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, posing a challenge to meeting the global greenhouse gas mitigation goals set under the Paris Agreement. To understand how wetland methane cycling may evolve and drive climate feedbacks in the future, scientists are increasingly looking to Earth's past. "Ice core records indicate ...

Spilling the beans on coffee's true identity

2021-01-13
People worldwide want their coffee to be both satisfying and reasonably priced. To meet these standards, roasters typically use a blend of two types of beans, arabica and robusta. But, some use more of the cheaper robusta than they acknowledge, as the bean composition is difficult to determine after roasting. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry have developed a new way to assess exactly what's in that cup of joe. Coffee blends can have good quality and flavor. However, arabica beans are more desirable than other types, resulting in a higher market value for blends containing a higher proportion of this variety. In some cases, producers dilute their blends with the less expensive robusta beans, yet that is hard for consumers ...

The cancer microbiome reveals which bacteria live in tumors

The cancer microbiome reveals which bacteria live in tumors
2021-01-13
DURHAM, N.C. -- Biomedical engineers at Duke University have devised an algorithm to remove contaminated microbial genetic information from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). With a clearer picture of the microbiota living in various organs in both healthy and cancerous states, researchers will now be able to find new biomarkers of disease and better understand how numerous cancers affect the human body. In the first study using the newly decontaminated dataset, the researchers have already discovered that normal and cancerous organ tissues have a slightly different microbiota composition, that bacteria from these diseased sites can enter the bloodstream, and that this bacterial information could help diagnose ...

Scoring system to redefine how U.S. patients prioritized for liver transplant

Scoring system to redefine how U.S. patients prioritized for liver transplant
2021-01-13
Liver transplant priority in the U.S. goes to the sickest patients, which fails to consider other important factors, including how long patients are likely to survive post-transplant. Researchers with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine are collaborating with faculty at the University of Pennsylvania to develop a risk score that more comprehensively prioritizes liver cancer patients for transplantation. Their paper documenting the development and validation of the LiTES-HCC score to predict post-transplant survival for hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer, patients was published in the highly respected peer-reviewed Journal of Hepatology. The ...

Mathematics explains how giant whirlpools form in developing egg cells

2021-01-13
Egg cells are among the largest cells in the animal kingdom. If moved only by the random jostlings of water molecules, a protein could take hours or even days to drift from one side of a forming egg cell to the other. Luckily, nature has developed a faster way: cell-spanning whirlpools in the immature egg cells of animals such as mice, zebrafish and fruit flies. These vortices enable cross-cell commutes that take just a fraction of the time. But until now, scientists didn't know how these crucial flows formed. Using mathematical modeling, researchers now have an answer. The gyres result from the collective behavior of rodlike molecular ...

Superheroes, foods and apps bring a modern twist to the periodic table

Superheroes, foods and apps bring a modern twist to the periodic table
2021-01-13
Many students, especially non-science majors, dread chemistry. The first lesson in an introductory chemistry course typically deals with how to interpret the periodic table of elements, but its complexity can be overwhelming to students with little or no previous exposure. Now, researchers reporting in ACS' Journal of Chemical Education introduce an innovative way to make learning about the elements much more approachable -- by using "pseudo" periodic tables filled with superheroes, foods and apps. One of the fundamental topics taught in first-year undergraduate chemistry courses is ...

Raman spectroscopy shows promise for diagnosing oral cancer

Raman spectroscopy shows promise for diagnosing oral cancer
2021-01-13
WASHINGTON -- In a new study, researchers show that a light-based analytical technique known as Raman spectroscopy could aid in early detection of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). OSCC is the most prevalent type of oral cancer and ranks among the most common cancers diagnosed worldwide. Although effective treatments are available, the cancer is often not detected until a late stage, resulting in overall poor prognosis. "Raman spectroscopy is not only label-free and non-invasive, but it can potentially be used in ambient light conditions," says research team leader Levi Matthies from University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany. "This makes it promising for use as a potential screening tool ...

CVIA publishes selected abstracts from the 31st GW-ICC Conference

2021-01-13
Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications, publishes selected abstracts from the 31st Great Wall International Cardiology (GW-ICC) Conference, October 19 - 25, 2020 Beijing, January 13, 2021: Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications (CVIA), in its role as the official journal of the Great Wall International Cardiology Conference (GW-ICC), has published selected abstracts from the 31st GW-ICC. Abstracts are now online at https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/cscript/cvia/2020/00000005/a00101s1/art00001 Co-Editors-in-Chief of CVIA Dr. C. Richard Conti, past president of the American College of Cardiology, and Dr Jianzeng Dong, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China commented that CVIA is delighted to be ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Childhood cancer survivors are not more likely to terminate their pregnancies

Fine tuning first-responder immune cells may reduce TBI damage

Efficient solid-state depolymerization of waste PET

Women influenced coevolution of dogs and humans

Doctoral student leads paleoclimate study of precipitation and sea ice in Arctic Alaska

Continued strict control measures needed to reduce new COVID-19 strains

The Lancet: World failing to address health needs of 630 million women and children affected by armed conflict

Dramatic changes to radiotherapy treatments due to COVID-19

UTMB team proves potential for reducing pre-term birth by treating fetus as patient

New technique builds super-hard metals from nanoparticles

Regulating the ribosomal RNA production line

ECMO/CRRT in the treatment of critically ill SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia patients

Risk factors for intraoperative pressure injury in aortic surgery

Predictive value of blood pressure, heart rate, and blood pressure/heart rate ratio in a Chinese subpopulation with vasovagal syncope

A method for calculating optimal parameters of liquid chrystal displays developed at RUDN University

No more needles for diagnostic tests?

A professor from RUDN University developed new liquid crystals

Wet and wild: There's lots of water in the world's most explosive volcano

Exercising muscle combats chronic inflammation on its own

From fins to limbs

UK public supports usage of tracking technology and immunity passports in global pandemic

Climate and carbon cycle trends of the past 50 million years reconciled

Crystal structures in super slow motion

University of Cincinnati research unveils possible new combo therapy for head and neck cancer

NSAIDs might exacerbate or suppress COVID-19 depending on timing, mouse study suggests

Tiny particles that seed clouds can form from trace gases over open sea

Experts call for more pragmatic approach to higher education teaching

A quarter of known bee species haven't appeared in public records since the 1990s

AI trained to read electric vehicle charging station reviews to find infrastructure gaps

Genetic sequence for parasitic flowering plant Sapria

[Press-News.org] A fly's eye view of evolution
Research team led by Göttingen University investigates molecular basis of eye size variation in insects