Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Transposable elements in pregnancy
http://bfg.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/06/28/bfgp.els013.full This paper isn't as recent as some of the others we've looked at on pot lucks, but I think this is a really tangible example of a few mutations with profound adaptive effects. Professor Wagner discusses how transposable elements cut and pasted regulatory elements to the effect that many placental genes were expressed together to create placental pregnancies. Furthermore, he elaborates on how these types of mutations could respond quickly to environmental changes, thus allowing them to function uniquely in clades like primates. Scanning genomes for spliced regulatory elements by transposons might provide researchers with other examples of rapid adaptation by few mutations.