Sunday, November 20, 2016

Diets of Organisms Can Affect the DNA sequences of their Genes

Recent studies have found that the DNA sequence of an organism can be affected by their diet. This particular study was conducted at the University of Oxford where researchers studied DNA sequences of parasites. The parasites were then divided into two groups, depending on the composition of their diets, in which the researchers then observed differences in their DNA sequences. The co-author of this study, Dr. Steven Kelly, from Oxford's Department of Plant Sciences, shares insights about their hypothesis of this study, which was that an organism's DNA could be altered by the composition of the food it consumes.

Parasites were the ideal organisms to be used in this study because they are simple, and while they do share a common ancestor, they have since evolved to benefit from a variety of hosts and their diets very much differ. Parasites that were specifically used in this study were eukaryotic and bacterial parasites, that infect either plant or animal hosts. It was found in the study that changes in the DNA in each organism were typically caused by the level of nitrogen in the parasite's diet; particularly parasites with low nitrogen levels but high sugar levels had DNA sequences that consumed less nitrogen than a parasite with high nitrogen levels and high protein diets.

Related image

Researchers also were able to find a relationship between cellular metabolism and evolution, that prior to this study is believed to have been hidden. This newfound relationship was found based on mathematical models constructed by researchers; this model also helps to show how DNA sequences may be influenced by an adaptation to a different diet. From this evidence and information gained, researchers believe it is possible to use the analysis of DNA sequences of genes to predict the diets of other organisms that are closely related. These researchers are now beginning to look at more complicated organisms to see if they will find the same result. All of the data that has come out of this experiment certainly makes me believe that it will soon be possible to definitively tell for many more organisms, even more complex organisms, that the analysis of DNA sequencing of genes in one organism will surely help predict the diets of other organisms related to it.


No comments:

Post a Comment