Scientists have discovered a way to create feathers from crocodile scales, which could reveal secrets about the evolution of dinosaurs.
Scientists have discovered a way to transform crocodile scales into feathers in a laboratory, which could provide vital clues as to how dinsoaurs evolved into birds. It is one of the biggest developments in the history of evolution, and scientists are trying to discover the mbadive biological change that the birds we know today gave us.
Scientists were willing to discover what are the genes that develop feathers in birds, and then stimulated those genes in crocodile embryos, causing the scales to become feathers. Their findings were published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Scientists believe that some dinosaurs evolved in birds that still had scales, while other dinosaurs developed feathers. However, there remains a great mystery about exactly how this evolution happened.
The full statement of Molecular Biology and Evolution from Oxford University Press is shown below.
At first glance, most people would not think they were alligators or evolutionary cousins. But, in fact, reptiles are the closest living relatives of birds, and all descend from archosaurs, the "ruling reptiles" that once dominated the Earth 250 million years ago.
The archosaurs gave rise to the age of the dinosaurs and, finally, birds and reptiles as their only living descendants.
Recently, many transition dinosaur fossils with complete or partial plumages have been discovered. Scientists speculate that these primitive "proto feathers" of feathered dinosaurs may have evolved to help endothermy, attract mates, give them the ability to escape predators and finally plan and fly.
But exactly how external skin and underlying tissues specify feathers and scales, and ultimately, the evolution of flight, have remained a mystery.
However, this rich evolutionary heritage should still be integrated into all the DNA of live birds and reptiles.
For scientists like regenerative medicine doctor Dr. Cheng Ming Choung, professor of pathology at USC Keck School of Medicine, the field is ripe for plucking with advances in modern genomics that can hone molecular clues responsible for the evolution of feathers and flight.
And in a new study published in the online advanced edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, Chuong has led an international team to identify a plethora of new genes involved in flake and feather development.
"We now have a potential molecular explanation for these hypothetical missing links," said Chuong.
They have also demonstrated the ability to convert scales into feathers, activating and deactivating key molecular circuits at critical stages of growth and scale development.
"These results show that different perturbations cause different levels of scaling to plume, which implies that the scales have the ability to form feathers with the appropriate molecular signals," said Chuong.
For In the research study, the team performed a complete RNA transcriptome and genomic DNA badysis of chicks and developing caimans to identify their genetic expression differences and the key genes in the formation of scales or feathers.
They then placed these unique genes from chicken feathers inside the crocodile eggs, carefully turning them on or off under their growing skin to re-awaken an old schedule that can turn the scales into feathers. 19659004] "Our badyzes led to the identification of five morforegulatory modules that are essential for the modern formation of feathers," said Chuong. "We propose that these modules can originally evolve as different strategies for better adaptation, and eventually the integrating combination of five morforeguladores modules achieves the feathers architecture of great success at present, allowing the Ave clbad to claim most of the open sky as its ecological niche. "
These key circuits lead to the budding and elongation of appendages, follicle with stem cells and dermal papilla to allow for cyclic regeneration, formation of barbed edges with different branching forms and specific differentiation of feather keratin .
Some molecules can only induce one of the five criteria, for example, the Sox2 gene can activate the budding pen and completely inhibits tartar formation, whereas Grem1 can induce branching similar to a barb.
"Other molecules, such as retinoic acid or Sox18, have a greater ability to induce flake scales to form feather-like skin appendages," said Chuong. "These feather-like appendages show the five criteria that define feathers, suggesting that they act at a higher hierarchical level in this evolutionary pathway."
These master regulators may have been the first genes to adapt during the evolution of ancient archososaurs and gain a new skill for making complex feathers today.
"Interestingly, some of these phenotypes are similar to the unusual filamentous appendages found in fossils of feathered dinosaurs."
Inspired by the "flying dragon", Ping Wu wants to challenge the crocodile scales to form feathers. Through the forced expression of sprouty and beta-catenin, the genes they found to help turn chicken scales into feathers are capable of causing the formation of elongated scales on the skin of the crocodile embryo.
The study adds significantly to the growing list of genes and molecules known to induce feather-like structures in birds and that have established a new and powerful system in alligators to further test and explore the evolution of flight.