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Current Vertebrates News and Events, Vertebrates News Articles.
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UC Irvine researchers discover new technique for analyzing crucial cell activity in limb regeneration
Note: The embargo time for this release has been changed from 2/14/00, 4:00 pm EST, to 2/10/00, 2:00 pm EST.
Researchers at UC Irvine have developed an effective method of studying the function of the specific genes necessary for limb regeneration in salamanders, a finding that may ultimately provide key information leading to new approaches for the treatment of such ailments as spinal cord injury, deep wounds and burns. (2000-02-09)

Life on land tied to gene expansion
The evolutionary transition from life in the sea to life on land may have been nudged by a genetic expansion, according to an article appearing in the February Development. HMS researchers Susan Dymecki and her colleagues suggest that a gene previously expressed in the developing brain may have come to be expressed also in the tips of developing limbs, helping to bring about the development of toes and fingers in the first vertebrates. (2000-02-02)

Gobbling food helps threadsnakes avoid danger; in a snake-eat-ant world, it's survival of the fastest
Although large snakes often fascinate people with their ability to swallow prey many times their size, the snakes' diminutive relatives, threadsnakes, have a unique feeding mechanism which may be equally important, according to University of Massachusetts biologists. The study which details the findings is published in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Nature. (1999-11-23)

New dinosaurs appear to be oldest yet, as reported in the 22 October issue of Science
The jaws of two of the oldest dinosaurs ever discovered and the remains of eight other prehistoric animals have been unearthed in Madagascar. The fossils provide a freeze-framed picture of life during the earliest days of dinosaurs and mammals--a picture that has been largely obscured until now. (1999-10-21)

Making A Hand Or A Foot? Tbx-4 And Tbx-5 Are Involved In Determination Of Fore- And Hindlimb Identity
Toshihiko Ogura and coworkers (Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Japan) and Astrid Vogel-Höpker (Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt/Main, Germany) altered limb types by misexpression of limb specific Tbx- genes in chick embryos (Nature, 29 April 1999) implicating these genes in limb-type specification. (1999-04-30)

Researchers Find Unexpected Feature In Plankton Nervous System
University of Hawaii researchers have discovered myelin coating the axons of a calanoid copepod zooplankton. Myelin, which boosts the speed and efficiency of nervous system function, had previously been thought to be a feature nearly exclusive to vertebrates. The copepods with myelin exhibit much faster response to stimuli than other copepods. (1999-04-14)

New Findings On Primitive Shark Contradicts Current View Of Jaw Evolution
A 400-million-year-old primitive shark relative from Bolivia named Pucapampell points to an advanced specialization in shark evolution. It also provides a missing link in the understanding of how jawed vertebrates evolved from the jawless state - a crucial initial step toward human evolution. (1999-04-09)

Nature's Hardest Puzzle
Researchers are closing in on making tooth enamel, the hardest substance found in vertebrates. They have identified tiny spheres that regulate the formation and organization of tooth enamel by controlling the substance's crystalline growth. (1998-12-10)

Sex-Specific Behavior Controlled By Peripheral Nervous System
In a series of novel experiments, researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have found that properties of sensory neurons in invertebrate animal limbs, rather than an organism's central nervous system, seem to be critical in determining what types of information are received and what behaviors result. (1998-11-10)

New Study Offers A Twist On Evolution Of Animal Postures
A new Ohio University study of how alligators walk is putting an unusual twist on the theory that animals with erect postures, such as birds and mammals, evolved from crawling on their bellies to walking erect. (1998-11-06)

Penn Researchers Prove "Short-Cut" Function Of Myelin Sheath Channel: BetterUnderstanding Of Myelin Should Lead To Therapies For Neuropathies
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center have demonstrated for the first time how a biochemical channel important for the exchange of cell nutrients links the multiple layers of the myelin sheath to the outside space. This research has implications for all demyelinating diseases, including multiple sclerosis. (1998-08-24)

Ancient "Jumping DNA" May Have Evolved into Key Component of Human Immune System
The human immune system can recognize and destroy thousands of invaders. Did this diversity come about accidentally when a mobile piece of DNA inserted itself into the mammalian genome more than 450 million years ago? (1998-08-20)

At Last, Zoologists May Know What Is Killing The World's Amphibians
Frogs and toads throughout the world are being killed by a fungus that is new to science. Teams in the US and Australia discovered this fungus, which seems to suffocate the amphibians by coating their undersides and legs. This could be a major factor contributing to the decline in amphibian populations worldwide. (1998-06-24)

Getting At The Components Of Mechanotransduction: Genes Required For Vertebrate Sensory Hair Cell Function Identified
Although researchers know a great deal about the biophysics of hearing, not much is known about the molecular basis of inner ear and lateral line function. In a study on zebrafish mutants (Neuron, February 1998), Max Planck scientists identified genes which appear to have a specific role within sensory hair cell. (1998-03-16)

Transposable Elements May Have Had A Major Role In The Evolution Of Higher Organisms
A molecular biologist at the University of Georgia has proposed that transposable elements may play a crucial and central role in evolution and could be the (1998-02-09)

Evolutionary Advantage Found For Sex
What's love got to do with it? Try fitter genes. In one of the first studies to scientifically prove an evolutionary advantage for sex, a researcher at Wake Forest University reports in the July 31 issue of the journal Nature that sex helps weed out harmful genetic mutations. (1997-07-30)

Researchers Solve A Puzzle In Eye Development
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have solved a centuries-old puzzle: Do both our eyes develop from a single precursor or does each develop from a single structure (1997-01-27)

Medicinal Leech May Offer Clues To Neural Regeneration
Purdue University researchers have found that nitric oxide synthase, or NOS, is activated when axons are damaged in the medicinal leech, an invertebrate known for its ability to regenerate its neural connections. The group is now conducting followup studies to see what role NOS may play in neural regeneration (1996-11-21)

Biologists Discover Genetic Means To Grow Wing Tissue
Biologists have discovered a gene responsible for growing wings -- and the means to direct it to grow wing tissue from eye sockets, legs and other appendages. The discovery, reported in the July 11 Nature, promises insight into how genes in animals, including humans, direct limb formation (1996-07-09)

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