Bats, mice and Darwin’s tomatoes: Gene regulation works

| 9 Comments

On Quintessence of Dust Steve Matheson, a biologist at Calvin College, has back to back posts on the role of gene regulation in the development of ‘novel’ structures. The first, How the bat got its wing, describes the work of Chris Cretekos and colleagues on the regulation of Prx1, a gene influencing bone morphogenetic proteins which are involved in limb elongation. The protein coding regions of Prx1 in bats and mice are virtually identical, but in nearby regions thought to contain elements regulating the local expression of Prx1 there are some substantial sequence differences. Replacing the mouse Prx1 forelimb regulatory region with the bat Prx1 regulatory region resulted in mice with significantly elongated forelimbs. Read Matheson’s post for the rest of the story.

In Finches, bah! What about Darwin’s tomatoes? Matheson describes new genetic research on an old friend, the tomato specimens that Darwin brought back from the Galapagos. Didn’t know Darwin brought tomatoes back from the Galapagos? Again, see Matheson’s post for

… an example of a change in a regulatory region of the DNA, the kind of change that evo-devo theorists have predicted to be fairly common in the evolution of new forms.

9 Comments

The increase in limb length isn’t startling, but obviously the complete development of the bat wing is going to require more than just the constitutive expresssion of one transcription factor.

The whole concept of the experiment though is brilliant, inevitable, and presaged by science fiction. Evo-devo needs transgenics, and it won’t be limited to mice. David Brin should take out a patent ASAP on chimpanzee CNS work. It will happen.

I would just like to point out that chimps are people too. I mean, if there is any validity to an atheistic world view, then distinguishing between chimps and people from a moral standpoint is (almost) entirely arbitrary, so CNS work on chimps is (almost) morally equivalent to non-consenting medical experiment on people.

Go ahead and delete my initial comment as well. If debating whether non-biologically human entities can be legal or moral human (ish) should be on the bathroom wall, then certainly my original post should be removed as well. (Though admittedly, I fail to see why this deserves to be on TBW but the incessant creationist debate isn’t moved there. Seriosly, this could have been so much more interesting then anything Phildebrant Heywood has ever said.)

*shrug* ok.

*shrug* ok.

Larry Boy said:

I would just like to point out that chimps are people too. I mean, if there is any validity to an atheistic world view, then distinguishing between chimps and people from a moral standpoint is (almost) entirely arbitrary, so CNS work on chimps is (almost) morally equivalent to non-consenting medical experiment on people.

Until this comment is moved to the bathroom wall I would instruct people to ignore it. It is somewhat misleading and responses to it have already been moved to the bathroom wall.

RHB: Please remove all my comments from this thread.

While you’re in the bathroom, check out my nested hierarchy of old hens, with Ichytic the poochy pup who trips up Rilke’s granddaughter, who was to have conveyed the eggs safely. She then develops an itch, and is sent to Mars to be scratched by that lander’s robotic arm. Better that, and I’ll send you one of Darwin’s tomatoes. An original one.

Yes it’s not widely publicized that Darwin brought back tomatoes. He bred a variety that is already sliced, on the vine. He did it with CUTTINGS. Come on, laugh.

You joined the animal’s lib’s, or the madhouse, or the Hindu? Don’t write stuff like that above. It’s logical. These CNS assassins, these blood-soaked murderers in white coats, these vile vivisectionists! One of ‘em ate a cheese culture for lunch. It was my great uncle. He went happily - always said he was wrapt in tomatoes. Sliced, the Darwin variety.

What they don’t tell you is that Darwin was Jack the Ripper. Never mind he had been dead for nine years. He wasn’t really invalid, either. That was a front, because he was in London all night, and needed to rest all day. That’s not really his body in Westminster. You’ll see - I’ll bet they won’t disinter it, because they know. I’ve got to go and strangle a pigeon or two. Keeps me in trim. Something there reminds me about Boston. Now you know why I’m not a Darwinist. I don’t like my tomatoes sliced.

While you’re in the bathroom, check out my nested hierarchy of old hens, with Ichytic the poochy pup who trips up Rilke’s granddaughter, who was to have conveyed the eggs safely. She then develops an itch, and is sent to Mars to be scratched by that lander’s robotic arm. Better that, and I’ll send you one of Darwin’s tomatoes. An original one.

Yes it’s not widely publicized that Darwin brought back tomatoes. He bred a variety that is already sliced, on the vine. He did it with CUTTINGS. Come on, laugh.

You joined the animal’s lib’s, or the madhouse, or the Hindu? Don’t write stuff like that above. It’s logical. These CNS assassins, these blood-soaked murderers in white coats, these vile vivisectionists! One of ‘em ate a cheese culture for lunch. It was my great uncle. He went happily - always said he was wrapt in tomatoes. Sliced, the Darwin variety.

What they don’t tell you is that Darwin was Jack the Ripper. Never mind he had been dead for nine years. He wasn’t really invalid, either. That was a front, because he was in London all night, and needed to rest all day. That’s not really his body in Westminster. You’ll see - I’ll bet they won’t disinter it, because they know. I’ve got to go and strangle a pigeon or two. Keeps me in trim. Something there reminds me about Boston. Now you know why I’m not a Darwinist. I don’t like my tomatoes sliced.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on May 25, 2008 10:47 PM.

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