Bats and Dolphins Evolved Echolocation in Same Way

first_imgDolphins and bats don’t have much in common, but they share a superpower: Both hunt their prey by emitting high-pitched sounds and listening for the echoes. Now, a study shows that this ability arose independently in each group of mammals from the same genetic mutations. The work suggests that evolution sometimes arrives at new traits through the same sequence of steps, even in very different animals. The research also implies that this convergent evolution is common—and hidden—within genomes, potentially complicating the task of deciphering some evolutionary relationships between organisms. Nature is full of examples of convergent evolution, wherein very distantly related organisms wind up looking alike or having similar skills and traits: Birds, bats, and insects all have wings, for example. Biologists have assumed that these novelties were devised, on a genetic level, in fundamentally different ways. That was also the case for two kinds of bats and toothed whales, a group that includes dolphins and certain whales, that have converged on a specialized hunting strategy called echolocation. Until recently, biologists had thought that different genes drove each instance of echolocation and that the relevant proteins could change in innumerable ways to take on new functions.But in 2010, Stephen Rossiter, an evolutionary biologist at Queen Mary, University of London, and his colleagues determined that both types of echolocating bats, as well as dolphins, had the same mutations in a particular protein called prestin, which affects the sensitivity of hearing. Looking at other genes known to be involved in hearing, they and other researchers found several others whose proteins were similarly changed in these mammals.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)Now, Rossiter’s team has expanded the search for this so-called molecular convergence to the entire genome. They sequenced the genomes of four species from various branches of the bat family tree, two that use echolocation and two that don’t. They added in the existing genome sequences of the large flying fox and the little brown bat, another echolocator. Evolutionary biologist Joe Parker, also at Queen Mary, University of London, compared the bat genetic sequences to those from more than a dozen other mammals, including the bottlenose dolphin. He focused on the 2300 genes that exist in single copies in all the bats, the dolphin, and at least five other mammals. He evaluated how similar each gene was to its counterparts in various bats and the dolphin. The analysis revealed that 200 genes had independently changed in the same ways, Parker, Rossiter and their colleagues report today in Nature. Several of the genes are involved in hearing, but the others have no clear link to echolocation so far; some genes with shared changes are important for vision, but most have functions that are unknown. “The biggest surprise,” says Frédéric Delsuc, a molecular phylogeneticist at Montpellier University in France, “is probably the extent to which convergent molecular evolution seems to be widespread in the genome.”Genomicist Todd Castoe from the University of Texas, Arlington, is also impressed: “I’m pretty convinced they are finding something real, and it’s really exciting [and] pretty important.” However, he is critical about the way the analysis was done, suggesting that the approach found only indirect evidence of molecular convergence.The discovery that molecular convergence can be widespread in a genome is “bittersweet,” Castoe adds. Biologists building family trees are likely being misled into suggesting that some organisms are closely related because genes and proteins are similar due to convergence, and not because the organisms had a recent common ancestor. No family trees are entirely safe from these misleading effects, Castoe says. “And we currently have no way to deal with this.”last_img read more

Read Next

first_imgRead Next Bohol Gov. Edgar Chatto proposed a P12.3 billion plan for the rehabilitation of government buildings, historical sites, land, sea and air terminals and ports.The bulk of the amount is needed for infrastructure at P5.8 billion, social development at P4.4 billion, economic development at P1.2 billion and development administration worth P788 million.FEATURED STORIESNEWSINFOSenate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreementsNEWSINFOLocsin wants to drop ‘visas upon arrival’ privilegeNEWSINFOPalace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spikeEfren Carreon, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) 7 director and officer-in-charge chairman of RDC, said the rehabilitation plans will be the basis for the national government to allocate funds for each province.The Cebu provincial government, meanwhile, indicated P26.8 million for 16 cities and municipalities in northern Cebu that were heavily affected by supertyphoon Yolanda. For typhoon-related repairs, Bohol needs P80.7 million while Negros Oriental indicated they need P1 million for rehabilitation efforts.MORE STORIESnewsinfoWHAT WENT BEFORE: Dengvaxia is world’s first dengue vaccinenewsinfoBaybayin revival makes native PH history hipnewsinfoMartial law in Negros? Military taking cue from local execsMORE STORIESnewsinfoWHAT WENT BEFORE: Dengvaxia is world’s first dengue vaccinenewsinfoBaybayin revival makes native PH history hipnewsinfoMartial law in Negros? Military taking cue from local execsEarlier, the Capitol’s task force Paglig-on came up with an initial P24.7 billion rehabilitation plan.The Provincial Development Council (PDC) approved the smaller amount last Friday but this increased after gathering more damage assessment reports from other agencies, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III said.The biggest share of the fund is needed for shelter and resettlement, P23.6 billion, followed by the cost of the rehabilitation plan implementation at P1.2 billion.For livelihood and emergency employment, the Capitol allocated P558 million, P478 million for infrastructure and P853 million for the repair of school and health facilities. Social development projects will need P25 million and utilities P46 million.ADVERTISEMENT Senate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreements THE Regional Development Council (RDC) yesterday approved three rehabilitation plans for Central Visayas amounting to P26.9 billion.The RDC approved a separate plan for Bohol, Cebu, Siquijor and Negros Oriental to repair damage from the Oct. 15 earthquake and Nov. 8’s superphoon Yolanda.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Baybayin revival makes native PH history hip WHAT WENT BEFORE: Dengvaxia is world’s first dengue vaccine LATEST STORIES PH protests Chinese boat swarm, warship passage Painters refuse to go quietly View comments Palace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spike Locsin wants to drop ‘visas upon arrival’ privilege PBA: Rain or Shine overcomes San Miguel, McCullough’s 51 to avert sweep MOST READ PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities PLAY LIST 03:26PCSO to focus on improving transparency of gaming activities01:39Sotto open to discuss, listen to pros and cons of divorce bill06:02Senate to probe Tolentino’s ‘novel legal theories’ on oral agreements01:50Palace open to make Dengvaxia usable again as dengue cases spike01:49House seeks probe on ‘massive corruption’ in PCSO01:37PCSO estimates P250M in Lotto revenue loss due to suspensionlast_img read more