New studies by some researchers in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory have unveiled the prime reason behind the rich diversity found in mammals. They also explained the reason behind why a dolphin is not a cat?
Mammals are known for acquiring unique characteristics in their lives even though they have a common ancestor. As per the new research, mammals acquire this uniqueness by re-purposing functional elements through gene regulation.
During the research, the scientists examined genome sequences of 29 mammals, and they compared gene regulation in liver cells among 20 key species.
Paul Flicek, head of Vertebrate Genomics at European Bioinformatics Institute, said their research focuses on evolution re-purposes things that exist in all species.
He clarified by saying that evolution re-purposes things that exist in all species to make each species unique.
As per Paul, evolution captures the DNA that’s been around for a long time and uses it for gene regulation in specific tissues.
The study of gene regulation in liver cells among 20 key mammal species gave the scientists an insight into how these species diverged millions of years ago.
The researchers succeeded in explaining to turn changes in the genome into differences between species, including the change of protein sequences or by changing the way promoters control that protein expression.
Both these changes can take place at the same time if amino acid sequences start evolving quickly.
This new study has unleashed a new light path for researchers who study mammalian evolution. The scientists aim to explain the functional genetics of many under-explored species by considering this new gene regulation theory.