Tag: Evolution + Development

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.

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.


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