Study: Different species share a “genetic toolkit” for behavioral traits

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The house mouse, stickleback fish and honey bee appear to have little in common, but at the genetic level these creatures respond in strikingly similar ways to danger, researchers report. When any of these animals confronts an intruder, the researchers found, many of the same genes and brain gene networks gear up or down in response.

This discovery, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that distantly related organisms share some key genetic mechanisms that help them respond to threats, said University of Illinois cell and developmental biology professor Lisa Stubbs, who led the research with animal biology professor Alison Bell and entomology professor and Institute for Genomic Biology director Gene Robinson. Bell and Stubbs also are IGB faculty.

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Gain, loss and divergence in primate zinc-finger genes: a rich resource for the evolution of regulatory differences between species

Nowick, K. Fields, C., Gernat, T., Caetano-Anolles, D., Kholina, N., and Stubbs, L. Gain, loss and divergence in primate zinc-finger genes: a rich resource for the evolution of regulatory differences between species. PLoS One 6:e21553, 2011. @PubMed. Continue Reading →