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Study: Cows Are 25 Percent Snake


Science & Tech  (tags: animals, wildlife, environment, study, scientists, science, world, research, investigation, interesting, GeneticEngineering, geneticengineering, environment, discovery )

JL
- 653 days ago - motherjones.com
A study by Australia's Adelaide and Flinders Universities&the South Australian Museum has found that in complex organisms, DNA is not only transferred from a parent to its offspring like your science book told you, but can also be "laterally" transfer



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JL A. (275)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 7:27 pm


Mother Jones
Study: Cows Are 25 Percent Snake
New research from Australia challenges conventional knowledge of how DNA works.

By Erika Eichelberger | Thu Jan. 3, 2013 7:20 AM PST

You vaguely know how DNA works, right? You get it from your parents. Well, hold onto your britches, because scientists from down under are about to turn your world upside down.

A study by Australia's Adelaide and Flinders Universities and the South Australian Museum [1] has found that in complex organisms, DNA is not only transferred from a parent to its offspring like your science book told you, but can also be "laterally" transferred between species. The research, published in the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [2] in the US, involved comparing dozens of DNA sequences from different species. It found that cows inherited up to a quarter their genes from reptiles.

"[I]n higher organisms, vertebrates, mammals and so on we tend to believe that later or horizontal transfer of genetic material just doesn't really happen," Prof. David Adelson, study lead and head of Molecular and Biomedical Science at the University of Adeliade told Australian ABC News [1]. "But what we've shown is that there are DNA segments...called jumping genes…which are able to jump between species."

The similar DNA sequence that the two species share is able to "cut and paste itself within the genome," and thus replicate itself and jump to another species, Adelson explains. In that way, it's similar to how a retrovirus like HIV works, except it has "no way of making an infectious particle, so it's a bit of a mystery how it gets from [one] species to another," Adelson concedes.

He speculates that the DNA sequence could have "hitchhike[ed] as part of another virus," or could have been carried from snakes to cows by ticks, but that remains to be seen, as does how much mixing and matching there is among other species. "There's potential to see there's a lot more room for horizontal transfer than we previously supposed," Adelson says.

His next project will involve looking at whether human DNA sequences may also have jumped from other species. Who knows, maybe we're 32 percent shrimp.
Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/01/dna-cows-snakes-adelaide-flinders-study

Links:
[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-03/snake-genes-27hitchhike27-into-cow-dna/4451308
[2] http://www.pnas.org
 

John B. (175)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 8:49 pm
Whoa! Thanks J.L. for the post. "Jumping" genes, now that is indeed interesting. "Whether human DNA sequences may also have jumped from other species" is a great question and if so might give a whole new twist to the study of evolution. Read and noted.
 

JL A. (275)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 8:59 pm
Excellent points John! And it provides potential for addressing biological diversity and adaptations necessary for survival with changing climates. You cannot currently send a star to John because you have done so within the last week.
 

Nancy M. (201)
Monday January 7, 2013, 10:57 am
Really cool article. Tanks. I will have to find the actual PNAS article.

PErsonally, I always thought that I was part cat.
 

JL A. (275)
Monday January 7, 2013, 11:02 am
You cannot currently send a star to Nancy because you have done so within the last week.
 

Agnes Wojciechowska (152)
Monday January 7, 2013, 1:29 pm
thanks
 

JL A. (275)
Monday January 7, 2013, 5:15 pm
You are welcome Agnes
 

greenplanet e. (157)
Monday January 7, 2013, 6:43 pm
Interesting indeed.
 

Dianna M. (15)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 2:27 pm
And they say snakes "taste like chicken"!

Cows may be 25% snake . . . but my Congressman is 100% snake.
 

JL A. (275)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 3:00 pm
Thanks for the laugh Dianna! You cannot currently send a star to Dianna because you have done so within the last week.
 

Kathleen R. (138)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 3:29 pm
noted & read
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 3:34 pm
Thanks J.L. A. Interesting post, as usual.
 

Sue D. (156)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 3:52 pm
very interesting... but I LOVE Dianna's observation!
 

JL A. (275)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:18 pm
You are welcome Mary. Me, too, Sue.
 

Mitchell D. (129)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:35 pm
Reading about this concept of "lateral transfer" recalls that we humans, I have read, have dandelion, or sunflower genes, I believe; that we carry mitochondria, passed down through the maternal bloodline, that may have originated in viruses in the hugely distant past. long before reptiles, or mammals were even on the evolutionary drawing board, and so it may not be so phenomenally surprising to read of this. Still, 25%, wow!
 

Mitchell D. (129)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:39 pm
Okay, then, what about other bovines, and related species?
This, also, works against the human conceits that we are soo very different from other species, even at all different from other "races" of humans.
We have to stop killing and torturing our brothers and sisters!!!!!
 

JL A. (275)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:48 pm
Thanks so much Mitchell for expanding our knowledge of 'lateral transfer' and getting us to consider related issues and beliefs: You cannot currently send a star to Mitchell because you have done so within the last week.
 

Gordon Van Gies (114)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 12:15 am
Very interesting , I wonder how much cow I am.
 

Parvez Zuberi (7)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 1:18 am
Noted interesting
 

Ruth S. (304)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 6:39 am
God made them from the same elements that he made us, the earth.
 

Muriel Servaege (48)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 8:19 am
Interesting. I once saw a programme on TV explaining that every animal, sparrows or hens, for example, had what ithey need to live the way they want. They had inside them all the elements that could allow them to have teeth or long tails, for example. Therefore, in the long run, it might not be impossible for man to re-create dinosaurs.
 

Suzanne L. (155)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 8:54 am
That's a lotta snake in those cows. Is this just Australian cows or cows at large? All mammals probably have some reptilian DNA. Embryology would suggest that. TY JL.
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 10:26 am
You cannot currently send a star to Suzanne because you have done so within the last week.You are welcome.
 

Shirley B. (5)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 5:07 pm
How interesting is that! Thanks for posting.
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 5:26 pm
You are welcome Shirley!
 

Melania Padilla (179)
Friday January 11, 2013, 11:10 am
This is so cool and interesting! I have read about his before, there is so much to discover!
Thanks for posting, I re-shared this, noted.
 

Melania Padilla (179)
Friday January 11, 2013, 11:11 am
And just as Nancy M. I´ve always felt (in part) like a cat!
 

JL A. (275)
Friday January 11, 2013, 12:20 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Melania because you have done so within the last week.(Meow?)
 

Nancy M. (201)
Friday January 11, 2013, 12:41 pm
Maybe we ought to start sending catnip- not green stars. Meow.
 

JL A. (275)
Friday January 11, 2013, 3:03 pm
LOL Nancy! You cannot currently send a star to Nancy because you have done so within the last week.
 

Robert Hardy (67)
Friday January 11, 2013, 11:31 pm
This research may explain Republicans!
 

JL A. (275)
Saturday January 12, 2013, 7:05 am
LOL Robert!
 

Colleen Prinssen (14)
Monday January 14, 2013, 6:02 am
oh. animal based science fiction can get so much fun with this.
 

Klaus Peters (13)
Thursday January 24, 2013, 7:24 am
I cannot be a cow, a bull maybe. Now I am thinking what may have hitchhiked onto me trying to change my DNA, scary.
 
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