Scientists from the Universities of Dresden and Leipzig have presented a new method for detecting hormonally active substances in food, cosmetics and water in the journal “Biosensors & Bioelectronics”. Hormonally active substances can cause serious health problems, including breast and pros ... more
Kiwi bird genome sequenced
Researchers of the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have now sequenced the genetic code of this endangered species and have identified several sequence changes that underlie the kiwi’s adaptation to a nocturnal lifestyle: They found several genes involved in colour vision to be inactivated and the diversity of odorant receptors to be higher than in other birds - suggesting an increased reliance on their sense of smell rather than vision for foraging. The study was published in “Genome Biology”.
The kiwi, national symbol of New Zealand, gives insights into the evolution of nocturnal animals. Its unusual biological characteristics make the flightless kiwi a unique kind of bird. Kiwi have a number of features that make them interesting for study: They only have rudimentary wings, no tail and a very long beak with nostrils. They are mainly nocturnal with a low basal metabolic rate and the lowest body temperature among birds. To date there has been little genetic information available for this species that might help scientists to understand their unusual biology better.
An international team led by Torsten Schöneberg of the Institute of Biochemistry of the Medical Faculty at the University of Leipzig and Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have now sequenced the genome of the brown kiwi (Apteryx mantelli). Their analyses show genetic changes that likely reflect adaptation to nocturnal life. Although mutations have inactivated some of the key genes involved in color vision, the number of odorant receptor genes is expanded suggesting that the kiwi sense of smell is highly developed. These changes happened about 35 million years ago which is after the kiwi’s arrival in New Zealand.
“Already French botanist and zoologist Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, who lived in the 18th century, hypothesized that evolution works in accordance with a ‘use it or lose it’ principle. It is therefore very likely that the kiwi lost its color vision since this was no longer needed for its new nocturnal lifestyle”, says first author Diana Le Duc, MD, at the University of Leipzig. “The kiwi’s sense of smell – which was required for foraging in the dark of the night – became more acute and the repertoire of odorant receptors increased adapting to a wider diversity of smells.”
DNA analyses of two kiwi individuals show, however, that according to first estimates there is little genetic variability in the population. This could further endanger the survival of this species and will have to be taken into account when planning future breeding programs. “The genome of the kiwi is an important resource for future comparative analyses with other extinct and living flightless birds”, says computational biologist Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
- Uni Leipzig
- MPI für evolutionär…
- genome sequencing
The PCR test is the most accurate tool to identify SARS-CoV-2. However, valid results are often available only after days. Moreover, the laboratory must be well equipped, have trained personnel and sufficient financial resources. All of this is usually a problem in Africa. A portable suitca ... more
A new theory for the breaking of (bio-)chemical bonds under load may help to predict the strength and performance of synthetic nanostructures and proteins, on a molecular level. The fundamental question how a molecular bond breaks is of interest in many fields of science and has been studie ... more
An international research team led by Martin Petr and Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has determined Y chromosome sequences of three Neandertals and two Denisovans. These Y chromosomes provide new insights into the relationships and ... more
While there are numerous prehistoric sites in Europe and Asia that contain tools and other human-made artefacts, skeletal remains of ancient humans are scarce. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have therefore looked into new ways to g ... more
A cooperation of scientists at the MPI for Developmental Biology in Tübingen and the MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology developed a new test to verify the authenticity of ancient DNA. They applied the test to a sample from submerged sediment off the Isle of Wight, thought to provide evidence ... more
- 1Detect neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's by a simple eye scan?
- 2Fluorescence microscopy at highest spatial and temporal resolution
- 3The Mechanics of the Immune System
- 4Resolve Biosciences Launches New Era in Single-Cell Spatial Analysis
- 5Quick look under the skin
- 6New ion trap to create the world's most accurate mass spectrometer
- 7How does your computer smell?
- 8Clocking electron movements inside an atom
- 9Sartorius closes 2020 with strong growth
- 10A clear path to better insights into biomolecules