New kind of mutation is reported

Jun 05, 2006

Belgium scientists say they have discovered a new kind of mutation that might be at the origin of many phenotypes in various species.

The researchers, led by University of Liege Professor Michael Georges, used a study on genetic factors that promote muscular hypertrophy among Texel sheep.

They report discovering a novel class of mutations that disrupt the function of a gene and cause a specific phenotype. The mutation created the appearance of an "illegitimate" microRNA recognition site in a gene that did not have it in its normal form.

In the study, the gene concerned is the myostatin, which is expressed in the skeletal muscle and the function of the derived protein is to inhibit muscular growth.

The mutation discovered among sheep exposed a recognition site for two microRNAs that are highly expressed in the muscle. In "mutant" animals, those microRNAs will consequently target the myostatin gene and block its translation.

The result, said the researchers, is that the absence of myostatin provokes a muscular hypertrophy among Texel sheep. But pursuing the study using bioinformatic approaches, the team identified polymorphisms among humans and mice that are likely to act in the same way.

The study appears in Nature Genetics.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Health insurance signups coming to shopping malls

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Muscling in on type 2 diabetes

Feb 26, 2009

Research by kinesiology investigator Dustin Hittel, PhD, has proven that muscle in extremely obese individuals produces large amounts of a protein called myostatin, which normally inhibits muscle growth--suggesting that for ...

Recommended for you

Some people may be pre-wired to be bilingual

4 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Some people's brains seem pre-wired to acquire a second language, new research suggests. But anyone who tries to move beyond their mother tongue will likely gain a brain boost, the small study ...

New research supporting stroke rehabilitation

6 hours ago

Using world-leading research methods, the team of Dr David Wright and Prof Paul Holmes, working with Dr Jacqueline Williams from the Victoria University in Melbourne, studied activity in an area of the brain ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.