Tag: Evolution + Development

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.

image of zebrafish brain

Brain development takes an unexpected bend

November 3, 2008

A previously undescribed molecular mechanism for changing the shape of cell sheets is demonstrated in the embryonic brain, using the zebrafish model. This process, termed "basal constriction", is likely to occur in different structures during development in all animals.

Photo of Arabidopsis thaliana

Shocking evolution into action

February 18, 2008

One heat shock protein affects the expression of many complex traits genes, which may contribute to rapid evolutionary change.

Image of red blood cell precursors drawn from an embryonic mouse liver

How red blood cells nuke their nuclei

February 10, 2008

In the first mechanistic study of how a red blood cell loses its nucleus, the research sheds light on one of the most essential steps in mammalian evolution.

Hotspots found for chromosome gene-swapping

November 29, 2007

Work will lead to a better understanding of chromosome abnormalities and birth defects.

Scientists alleviate symptoms of Rett syndrome in mice

February 1, 2006

Findings might aid research into therapies for human sufferers.

Within the folds, outside the box

October 26, 2005

Feverishly hot climates. Dizzying alcohol and sugar binges. Heavy metals. Toxic drugs. Genetic mutations. Over the years, yeast, fruit flies, mustard plants and mice have struggled through their own versions of an extreme reality TV show in the laboratory of Whitehead Member Susan Lindquist.

Human Y chromosome stays intact while chimp Y loses genes

August 31, 2005

The human and the chimpanzee Y chromosomes went their separate ways approximately 6 million years ago. But ever since this evolutionary parting, these two chromosomes have experienced different fates, ne research indicates.

Branching out

April 14, 2004

Whitehead biologist Steve Rozen has explored the family tree of the male-determing Y chromosome, looking for information about a genetic mutation that raises interesting questions about the evolution of the Y.

Study answers questions on ancestry of yeast genome

March 8, 2004

In work that may lead to a better understanding of genetic diseases, researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT, Harvard University and Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research show that baker’s yeast was created hundreds of millions of years ago when its ancestor temporarily became a kind of super-organism with twice the usual number of chromosomes and increased potential to evolve.

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