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Current Vertebrates News and Events, Vertebrates News Articles.
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CNIO and CNIC find clues to clarify why cohesine has a role in cancer and cardiac development
In 1998, Spanish researcher Ana Losada, currently at CNIO, identified cohesin in vertebrates, a protein essential for chromosome segregation in dividing cells. Today, we know that cohesin has a role in cancer * Cohesin is so important that it has been evolutionarily conserved for millions of years * Losada and Paco Real from CNIO, and Miguel Manzanares from CBMSO are publishing their recent findings on the role of cohesin in high-impact journal 'Cell Reports' (2020-08-11)

Herbivorous vertebrates may face most daunting extinction risk
Herbivores -- not predators -- may face a higher risk of extinction among mammals, birds, and reptiles, according to a new study of more than 44,000 living and extinct species. The findings suggest herbivores have consistently suffered the highest threat of extinction in the present day, the recent past, and the late Pleistocene - more so than species from any other position. (2020-08-05)

Loss of adaptive immunity helps deep sea anglerfish fuse with their mates
The discovery of altered adaptive immunity in anglerfish helps explain how the creatures are able to temporarily or permanently fuse with their mates without experiencing immune rejection. (2020-07-30)

Madagascar: New mouse lemur species discovered
Group of researchers, from six countries, identified, genetically and morphologically, a new population of rats (Microcebus) that inhabit the same forests as another usual species previously described. The research investigation was published in two scientific articles, in Systematic Biology and in the American Journal of Primatology, and studied the smallest nocturnal primates. The work highlights the consequences of deforestation and habitat removal, accelerating an extinction of species yet to be described. (2020-07-28)

Identification of new "oxidative stress sensor" MTK1
A research group at the Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo in Japan has uncovered a new mechanism that elicits a cellular response by detecting oxidative stress in the human body. MTK1 SAPKKK functions is identified as a new human oxidative stress sensor that senses excess active oxygen in the body and transmits that information to cells, leading to cell death and inflammatory cytokine production. (2020-07-28)

Scientists trace the origin of our teeth from the most primitive jawed fish
An international team of scientists led by Uppsala University (Sweden), in collaboration with the ESRF, the European Synchrotron (France), the brightest X-ray source, has digitally 'dissected', for the first time, the most primitive jawed fish fossils with teeth found near Prague more than 100 years ago. The results, published today in Science, show that their teeth have surprisingly modern features. (2020-07-09)

Advanced technology sheds new light on evolution of teeth
The evolution of our teeth began among ancient armoured fishes more than 400 million years ago. In the scientific journal Science, an international team led by researchers from Uppsala University presents ground-breaking findings about these earliest jawed vertebrates. Using powerful X-ray imaging, they show that unique fossils found near Prague contain surprisingly modern-looking teeth. (2020-07-09)

First evidence of snake-like venom glands found in amphibians
Caecilians are limbless amphibians that can be easily mistaken for snakes. Though caecilians are only distantly related to their reptilian cousins, researchers in a study appearing July 3 in the journal iScience describe specialized glands found along the teeth of the ringed caecilian (Siphonops annulatus), which have the same biological origin and possibly similar function to the venom glands of snakes. As such, caecilians may represent the oldest land-dwelling vertebrate animal with oral venom glands. (2020-07-03)

Analysis of volcanic tuff gives new data about Permian-Triassic extinction event
It's not often that scientists are able to find tuff in continental sedimentation, but this was accomplished in the PreUrals region by Kazan Federal University, Borisyak Institute of Paleontology, and Institute of Geology (the latter two are parts of the Russian Academy of Sciences). This was a first such finding on the territory of European Russia. Radioisotopic analysis was conducted by Boise State University. (2020-06-26)

The disease pyramid: Environment, pathogen, individual and microbiome
Researchers from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), the Université de Toulouse and the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) show how the microbial colonisation of the organism influences the interactions between living organisms, the environment and pathogens, using amphibians like frogs as examples. This is basic research for health prophylaxis. (2020-06-11)

Scientists identify ancient origin for key hormone system
A key set of proteins that help regulate hormones necessary for many essential functions in humans and other vertebrates have ancient origins in much simpler creatures such as sea cucumbers, says a new study published today in eLife. (2020-06-09)

Revealing how flies make decisions on the fly to survive
Many insects process visual information to make decisions about controlling their flying skills and movements- flies must decide whether to pursue prey, avoid a predator, maintain their flight trajectory or land based on their perceptions. Why is understanding this process important? We move every day and perceive the world differently as a result. These neurons correspond to descending neurons in human spinal cords. (2020-05-28)

The ins and outs of sex change in medaka fish
Scientists could gain insight into atypical sex development in vertebrates, including humans, by studying how nutrition affects sex changes in fish larvae. (2020-05-21)

Genetic origins of hybrid dysfunction
Evolutionary biologists studying populations of hybrid fish have found two genes that contribute to melanoma - only the second time people have identified specific genes associated with dysfunction in hybrid vertebrates. (2020-05-14)

Ecotourism transforms attitudes to marine conservation
A study has shown how ecotourism in the Philippines has transformed people's attitudes towards marine conservation. (2020-05-04)

Palaeontologists reveal 'the most dangerous place in the history of planet Earth
100 million years ago, ferocious predators, including flying reptiles and crocodile-like hunters, made the Sahara the most dangerous place on Earth. (2020-04-24)

Jurassic Park in Eastern Morocco: Paleontology of the Kem Kem Group
The Kem Kem beds in Morocco are famous for the spectacular fossils found there, including at least four large-bodied non-avian theropods, several large-bodied pterosaurs and crocodilians. In their study, published in the open-access journal Zookeys, an international group of scientists, led by Dr. Nizar Ibrahim and Prof. Paul Sereno, evaluate the geological and paleontological significance of the study area. (2020-04-23)

Promiscuity in the Paleozoic: Researchers uncover clues about vertebrate evolution
By looking at the DNA of living animals, researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, alongside an international team of collaborators, have revealed early events in vertebrate evolution, including how jawed vertebrates arose from the mating of two different species of primitive fish half a billion years ago. (2020-04-20)

Do urban fish exhibit impaired sleep?
Melatonin controls the body clock -- high melatonin levels make us feel tired in the evening. However, the hormone also plays an important role in animals' biological rhythms. Artificial light at night -- light pollution -- can suppress the production of melatonin in fish, even at very low light intensities, a finding established by researchers from the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB). (2020-04-03)

Needing a change? Researchers find GABA is the key to metamorphosis
Researchers led by the University of Tsukuba found that the neurotransmitter GABA is an essential regulator of metamorphosis in the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis. Larvae defective in GABA synthesis and transport failed to initiate metamorphosis and did not display adult organ growth. GABA positively regulated neurons expressing the reproductive maturation hormone GnRH, which is required for the key step of metamorphosis. These findings will help researchers to fully characterize the cellular changes underlying metamorphosis and explore pathway conservation among animals. (2020-03-31)

In Earth's largest extinction, land animal die-offs began long before marine extinction
Because of poor dates for land fossils laid down before and after the mass extinction at the end of the Permian, paleontologists assumed that the terrestrial extinctions from Gondwana occurred at the same time as the better-documented marine extinctions. But a new study provides more precise dates for South African fossils and points to a long, perhaps 400,000-year period of extinction on land before the rapid marine extinction 252 million years ago. (2020-03-27)

To sleep deeply: The brainstem neurons that regulate non-REM sleep
University of Tsukuba researchers identified neurons that promote non-REM sleep in the brainstem in mice. These neurons commonly expressed the gene that encodes the neuropeptide neurotensin. Activation of these neurons induced non-REM sleep. Moreover, direct administration of neurotensin into the ventricle induced NREM sleep-like brain activity. These findings contribute to our understanding of sleep promotion and sleep disorders, and could tell us more about the evolution of sleep architecture in mammals. (2020-03-23)

Ancient fish fossil reveals evolutionary origin of the human hand
An ancient Elpistostege fish fossil found in Miguasha, Canada, has revealed new insights into how the human hand evolved from fish fins. An international team of paleontologists from Flinders University in Australia and Universite du Quebec a Rimouski in Canada have revealed the fish specimen, as described in the journal Nature, has yielded the missing evolutionary link in the fish to tetrapod transition, as fish began to foray in habitats such as shallow water and land during the Late Devonian period millions of years ago. (2020-03-18)

Research on the fossil
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, succeeded for the first time ever in describing in lampreys the mechanistic basis with which the different receptor genes in these ancient creatures are assembled to form the receptor on the surface of immune cells. The results are an important step towards answering the question of which of the many functions of the immune system of vertebrates living today are absolutely necessary. (2020-03-13)

Receptors for the immune defence
Max Planck researchers investigate the function of immune genes in primitive mammals. (2020-03-13)

Discovery of smallest known mesozoic dinosaur reveals new species in bird evolution
The discovery of a small, bird-like skull, described in an article in Nature, reveals a new species, Oculudentavis khaungraae, that could represent the smallest known Mesozoic dinosaur in the fossil record. Lars Schmitz, associate professor of biology at the W.M. Keck Science Department, and a team of international researchers discovered the specimen, which provides new implications for understanding the evolution of birds, demonstrating the extreme miniaturization of avian body sizes early in the evolutionary process. (2020-03-11)

Male size advantage drives evolution of sex change in reef fish
Some species of fish, notably parrotfish and wrasses living on coral reefs, change their biological sex as they age, beginning life as females and later becoming functionally male. New work from UC Davis shows that this sequential hermaphroditism evolves when bigger males gain an advantage in reproductive success -- for example by defending a permanent mating territory. (2020-03-09)

Jellyfish help understand the timing of egg production
In animals, releasing eggs in a timely manner is vital to maximize the chances of successful fertilization. However, how this process evolved and is controlled in different species is poorly understood. A new regulator of egg release has been identified in jellyfish in a new study published March 3 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Gonzalo Quiroga Artigas and Evelyn Houliston of Sorbonne University, France, and colleagues. The finding sheds light on how the complex hormonal control of sexual reproduction in animals evolved. (2020-03-03)

Gene loss more important in animal kingdom evolution than previously thought
Scientists have shown that some key points of animal evolution -- like the ones leading to humans or insects -- were associated with a large loss of genes in the genome. The study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, compared over 100 genomes to investigate what happened at the gene level during the evolution of animals after their origin. (2020-02-27)

Deciphering the mechanism that determines organ size and shape
The study, published in the journal Developmental Cell and performed in Drosophila, unravels how developmental genes regulate organ size and proportions. Researchers at IRB Barcelona demonstrate that the size and patterning of a given organ are regulated by different mechanisms. Given the high genetic and mechanistic conservation between flies and humans, these discoveries pave the way for new research lines into congenital malformations and other diseases (2020-02-21)

In killifish: Diapause protects life from normal consequences of aging
Studying the African turquoise killifish, which enters into a suspended state called 'diapause' during dry and unfavorable growing seasons, researchers uncovered mechanisms that allow the arrested fish to be maintained for long periods while being protected from the normal consequences of aging. (2020-02-20)

Bumblebees recognize objects through sight and touch, a complex cognitive feat
Demonstrating an unprecedented degree of cognitive complexity in an insect, researchers report that bumblebees are capable of recognizing objects across senses. (2020-02-20)

Physics of Life -- Lane change in the cytoskeleton
Many amphibians and fish are able to change their color in order to better adapt to their environment. Munich-based scientists have now investigated the molecular mechanisms in the cytoskeleton necessary for this and revealed potential evolutionary paths. (2020-02-12)

Lane change in the cytoskeleton
Many amphibians and fish are able to change their color in order to better adapt to their environment. Munich-based scientists have now investigated the molecular mechanisms in the cytoskeleton necessary for this and revealed potential evolutionary paths. (2020-02-12)

Immune systems not prepared for climate change
Researchers have for the first time found a connection between the immune systems of different bird species, and the various climatic conditions in which they live. The researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that as the climate changes, some birds may be exposed to diseases that they are not equipped to handle. (2020-01-30)

After a bone injury, shape-shifting cells rush to the rescue
Conventional thinking is that bone regeneration is left to a small number of mighty cells called skeletal stem cells, which reside within larger groups of bone marrow stromal cells. (2020-01-29)

Locomotor engine in the spinal cord revealed
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have revealed a new principle of organization which explains how locomotion is coordinated in vertebrates akin to an engine with three gears. The results are published in the scientific journal Neuron. (2020-01-22)

Study traces evolution of acoustic communication
A study tracing acoustic communication across the tree of life of land-living vertebrates reveals that the ability to vocalize goes back hundreds of millions of years, is associated with a nocturnal lifestyle and has remained stable. Surprisingly, acoustic communication does not seem to drive the formation of new species across vertebrates. (2020-01-17)

The mysterious, legendary giant squid's genome is revealed
Important clues about the anatomy and evolution of the mysterious giant squid (Architeuthis dux) are revealed through publication of its full genome sequence by a University of Copenhagen-led team that includes scientist Caroline Albertin of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole. (2020-01-16)

Study: Humanity's footprint is squashing world's wildlife
Using the most comprehensive dataset on the 'human footprint,' which maps the accumulated impact of human activities on the land's surface, researchers from WCS, University of Queensland, and other groups found intense human pressures across the range of a staggering 20,529 terrestrial vertebrate species. (2020-01-13)

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