Nav: Home

New species may arise from rapid mitochondrial evolution

July 12, 2018

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Genetic research at Oregon State University has shed new light on how isolated populations of the same species evolve toward reproductive incompatibility and thus become separate species.

Scientists sequenced the entire genome of a Pacific tidepool crustacean, Tigriopus californicus, a model species for differentiation based on geographic separation - an early stage of one species becoming multiple species.

They examined the co-evolution of mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Mitochondria act as a cell's power plant, generating adenosine triphosphate, or ATP - a source of chemical energy.

As in all animals, most of a T. californicus cell's genes are in its nucleus but some are in the mitochondria.

"The mitochondria organelle contains a small chromosome with only 37 genes, but these genes are absolutely essential for metabolism," said the study's corresponding author, Felipe Barreto, assistant professor of integrative biology in OSU's College of Science. "In order for ATP to be produced properly in a cell, a few hundred other genes encoded in the nucleus must interact directly with the 37 mitochondrial genes. Mutations in the mitochondrial genes may cause these interactions to be subpar and thus cause reductions in metabolic performance."

T. californicus populations along the Pacific coast of North America have mitochondrial genes that differ widely from one population to the next - there are lots of mutations relative to each other.

"As a result, hybrid offspring between populations suffer from lowered fitness in the form of lower fecundity, slow development and lower ATP production as determined by several previous experiments," Barreto said.

Barreto and collaborators from the University of California, San Diego, the University of Southern California and the University of North Carolina used molecular statistical models to screen the genomes of eight populations in order to detect which genes might be incompatible between populations.

"Those genes may therefore be candidate genes for understanding how different populations become incompatible and possibly eventually become different species," he said.
-end-
The National Science Foundation and Oregon State University funded this research.

Findings were published this week in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Oregon State University

Related Evolution Articles:

Prebiotic evolution: Hairpins help each other out
The evolution of cells and organisms is thought to have been preceded by a phase in which informational molecules like DNA could be replicated selectively.
How to be a winner in the game of evolution
A new study by University of Arizona biologists helps explain why different groups of animals differ dramatically in their number of species, and how this is related to differences in their body forms and ways of life.
The galloping evolution in seahorses
A genome project, comprising six evolutionary biologists from Professor Axel Meyer's research team from Konstanz and researchers from China and Singapore, sequenced and analyzed the genome of the tiger tail seahorse.
Fast evolution affects everyone, everywhere
Rapid evolution of other species happens all around us all the time -- and many of the most extreme examples are associated with human influences.
Landscape evolution and hazards
Landscapes are formed by a combination of uplift and erosion.
New insight into enzyme evolution
How enzymes -- the biological proteins that act as catalysts and help complex reactions occur -- are 'tuned' to work at a particular temperature is described in new research from groups in New Zealand and the UK, including the University of Bristol.
The evolution of Dark-fly
On Nov. 11, 1954, Syuiti Mori turned out the lights on a small group of fruit flies.
A look into the evolution of the eye
A team of researchers, among them a zoologist from the University of Cologne, has succeeded in reconstructing a 160 million year old compound eye of a fossil crustacean found in southeastern France visible.
Is evolution more intelligent than we thought?
Evolution may be more intelligent than we thought, according to a University of Southampton professor.
The evolution of antievolution policies
Organized opposition to the teaching of evolution in public schoolsin the United States began in the 1920s, leading to the famous Scopes Monkey trial.

Related Evolution Reading:

Why Evolution Is True
by Jerry A. Coyne (Author)

Evolution
by Douglas J. Futuyma (Author), Mark Kirkpatrick (Author)

Evolution: A Visual Record
by Robert Clark (Author)

Evolution: The Human Story, 2nd Edition
by Dr. Alice Roberts (Author)

Evolution (Second Edition)
by Carl T. Bergstrom (Author), Lee Alan Dugatkin (Author)

Evolution: Making Sense of Life
by Carl Zimmer (Author), Douglas J. Emlen (Author)

Evolution: The Cutting-Edge Guide to Breaking Down Mental Walls and Building the Body You've Always Wanted
by Joe Manganiello (Author)

Evolutions: Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World
by Oren Harman (Author)

Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution
by Jonathan B. Losos (Author)

Evolution: The Human Story
by DK Publishing (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Dying Well
Is there a way to talk about death candidly, without fear ... and even with humor? How can we best prepare for it with those we love? This hour, TED speakers explore the beauty of life ... and death. Guests include lawyer Jason Rosenthal, humorist Emily Levine, banker and travel blogger Michelle Knox, mortician Caitlin Doughty, and entrepreneur Lux Narayan.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#491 Frankenstein LIVES
Two hundred years ago, Mary Shelley gave us a legendary monster, shaping science fiction for good. Thanks to her, the name of Frankenstein is now famous world-wide. But who was the real monster here? The creation? Or the scientist that put him together? Tune in to a live show from Dragon Con 2018 in Atlanta, as we breakdown the science of Frankenstein, complete with grave robbing and rivers of maggots. Featuring Tina Saey, Lucas Hernandez, Travor Valle, and Nancy Miorelli. Moderated by our own Bethany Brookshire. Related links: Scientists successfully transplant lab-grown lungs into pigs, by Maria Temming on Science...