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Tadpoles of frogs that can typically regrow amputated tails or limbs lost their ability to regenerate after researchers blocked the expression of a newly identified gene that is one of the drivers for this regrowth. Furthermore, scientists hypothesize that the loss of appendage regeneration in warm-blooded animals might have been caused by the gain or loss of this gene, dubbed c-Answer, in an ancestor's genome during evolution. The work appears October 22 in the journal Cell Reports.
"We suppose that genes can only disappear if removing them has advantages for the animal," says first author Daria Korotkova of the Shemyakin-Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry in Moscow. "So, we suggest that when this gene disappeared from warm-blooded species it was by a mutation, acting as a trade-off for the loss of appendage regeneration."
Computer - Algorithm - Researchers - Genes - Genomes
Using a computer algorithm, the researchers identified several genes that disappeared in the genomes of warm-blooded vertebrates, including humans, but are present in cold-blooded ones. They did this by searching the DNA of African clawed frogs, Xenopus laevis, to determine which genes code for regeneration. They then looked for similar DNA patterns in warm-blooded species, such as chicks, and noted anywhere a gene differed. They then selected one of the identified...
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