Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Genes that Separate Humans from Fruit Flies Found
Many people accept that humans are more complex organisms when compared to fruit flies without knowing how complexity is achieved genetically. Previous discoveries suggest that complexity is not based on total number of genes. Researcher Colin Sharpe and his colleagues at the University of Portsmouth found a link between complexity and the proteins within the organism. More specifically, complexity is linked to a protein's ability to control events in the cell's nucleus. Sharpe and his colleagues collected data from the genomes of nine animals, (including humans and fruit flies), and analyzed the genetic differences between them.
Researchers discovered that a greater complexity is linked with a higher number of proteins associated with interactions between other proteins and chromatin. This is because a greater number of proteins that interact with chromatin increase the ability of the organism to organize chromatin in the cell's nucleus. More efficient organization of chromatin leads to greater complexity in an organism.
Sharpe found that a specific gene NCoR was more diverse in complicated organisms, such as humans. Also, humans have two NCoR genes compared to a sea urchin's one NCoR gene. Also, the two NCoR genes in humans produce over 30 different proteins, adding to the human organism's complexity and diversity.
From these discoveries, researchers will be better equipped to choose appropriate model organisms to use in a laboratory setting. As researchers learn more about this topic, maybe they will find that experimental results found in a simple organism, such as a fruit fly, may not be accurate to compare to the potential results found in a more complex organism, such as a human.