Tag: Evolution + Development

Microscope image of cNeoblast colonies in an adult planarian

Planarian genes that control stem cell biology identified

March 1, 2012

Despite their unassuming appearance, the planarian flatworms in Whitehead Institute Member Peter Reddien's lab are revealing powerful new insights into the biology of stem cells—insights that may eventually help such cells deliver on a promising role in regenerative medicine.

Image: Y and X chromosomes

Theory of the "rotting" Y chromosome dealt a fatal blow

February 22, 2012

Research on the evolution of the human Y chromosome confirms that the Y—despite arguments to the contrary—has a long, healthy future ahead of it.

Image of a larval fruit fly brain

Brain glia cells increase their DNA content to preserve vital blood-brain barrier

January 13, 2012

Whitehead Institute scientists report that the growing fruit fly brain instructs subperineurial glia (SPG) cells that form the blood-brain barrier to enlarge by creating multiple copies of their genomes in a process known as polyploidization.

Photos of zebrafish heads, one with reduced lincRNA megamind production and an enlarged head, and the other normal megamind production and head size

Long intervening non-coding RNAs play pivotal roles in brain development

December 22, 2011

Whitehead Institute scientists have identified conserved, long intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) that play key roles during brain development in zebrafish, and went on to show that the human versions of these RNAs can substitute for the zebrafish lincRNAs.

What's in a name? Broadening the biological lexicon to bolster translational research

March 9, 2011

So-called model organisms have long been at the core of biomedical research, allowing scientists to study the ins and outs of human disorders in non-human subjects.

Imges of normal and mutated zebrafish brain ventricles

"Relaxation" a critical step in vertebrate brain development

February 10, 2010

Normal vertebrate brain ventricle formation relies upon the stretchiness or “relaxation” of the neuroepithelium, which is regulated by the motor protein myosin. This process was discovered in zebrafish and may play a role in the proper expansion of tubes in other organs throughout development.

X and Y chromosomes from a human male karyotype.

Chimp and human Y chromosomes evolving faster than expected

January 13, 2010

The first comprehensive comparison of Y chromosomes from two species sheds new light on Y chromosome evolution.  Contrary to a widely held scientific theory that the mammalian Y chromosome is slowly decaying or stagnating, new evidence suggests that in fact the Y is actually reinventing itself through continuous, wholesale renovation.

Schematic of crossing over between opposite arms of a palindrome

“Achilles’ heel” in Y chromosome linked to sex disorders

September 3, 2009

The unique mechanism behind the evolutionary survival of the human Y chromosome may also be responsible for a range of sex disorders, from failed sperm production to sex reversal to Turner Syndrome.

Opening the primary mouth with Wnt antagonists

May 4, 2009

Whitehead researchers have identified a novel mechanism that operates during formation of the “primary mouth”, the first opening between the outside of the embryo and the intestine.

Redefining what it means to be a prion

April 2, 2009

Whitehead Institute researchers have found a large number of new prions, greatly expanding scientists’ notion of how important prions might be in normal biology and demonstrating that they play many and varied roles in the inheritance of biological traits.

Cueing up at the meiotic starting line

December 11, 2008

Expression of the Dazl gene in embryonic germ cells primes these cells for stimulation by an external signal that initiates meiosis (the process of halving the cell’s chromosomes).

Photos of yeast plates

Misfolded proteins accelerate yeast evolution

November 25, 2008

In yeast, a protein-misfolding mechanism can reveal hidden genetic variations and thus generate new phenotypes that may increase cell survival. Researchers now have demonstrated that when yeast cells are stressed, this mechanism is triggered much more often.

Pages

© Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research              455 Main Street          Cambridge, MA 02142