New species may arise from rapid mitochondrial evolution

July 13, 2018 by Steve Lundeberg, Oregon State University
Credit: Oregon State University

Genetic research at Oregon State University has shed new light on how isolated populations of the same species evolve toward reproductive incompatibility and thus become separate species.

Scientists sequenced the entire genome of a Pacific tidepool crustacean, Tigriopus californicus, a model for differentiation based on geographic separation—an early stage of one species becoming multiple species.

They examined the co-evolution of mitochondrial and . Mitochondria act as a cell's power plant, generating adenosine triphosphate, or ATP—a source of chemical energy.

As in all animals, most of a T. californicus cell's are in its nucleus but some are in the mitochondria.

"The mitochondria organelle contains a small chromosome with only 37 genes, but these genes are absolutely essential for metabolism," said the study's corresponding author, Felipe Barreto, assistant professor of integrative biology in OSU's College of Science. "In order for ATP to be produced properly in a cell, a few hundred other genes encoded in the nucleus must interact directly with the 37 . Mutations in the mitochondrial genes may cause these interactions to be subpar and thus cause reductions in metabolic performance."

T. californicus populations along the Pacific coast of North America have mitochondrial genes that differ widely from one to the next—there are lots of mutations relative to each other.

"As a result, hybrid offspring between populations suffer from lowered fitness in the form of lower fecundity, slow development and lower ATP production as determined by several previous experiments," Barreto said.

Barreto and collaborators from the University of California, San Diego, the University of Southern California and the University of North Carolina used molecular statistical models to screen the genomes of eight populations in order to detect which genes might be incompatible between populations.

"Those genes may therefore be for understanding how different populations become incompatible and possibly eventually become different species," he said.

Explore further: New species concept based on mitochondrial & nuclear DNA coadaptation

More information: Felipe S. Barreto et al, Genomic signatures of mitonuclear coevolution across populations of Tigriopus californicus, Nature Ecology & Evolution (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0588-1

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Parsec
4 / 5 (3) Jul 13, 2018
At the rate at which new species are having their genomes transcribed, I can see a day when we have machines that can transcribe an entire species genome in a few days. By the end of the century, I predict most known species will have their entire genomes known as composites consisting of dozens of individuals.

What remains an interesting "trick" is to take a known genome and produce an individual from that genome without any representatives of that species available. Then the problem of species extinction will be largely solved.

I speak lightly of the holy grail of genetics of course and disregard any moral implications.
SCVGoodToGo
1.1 / 5 (8) Jul 13, 2018
Morality is an entirely human construct and should have limited to no place in science.
rrwillsj
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2018
SCV, thanks for warning the rest of us, how much any of us can trust you.
jonesdave
2.4 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2018
Morality is an entirely human construct and should have limited to no place in science.


I'm sure Josef Mengele would agree with you!
TrollBane
1 / 5 (1) Jul 13, 2018
SCV, have you looked into whether or not Unit 731 is still hiring? Morality had nothing to do with its experiments.
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4 / 5 (4) Jul 14, 2018
"T. californicus populations along the Pacific coast of North America have mitochondrial genes that differ widely from one population to the next—there are lots of mutations relative to each other.
"As a result, hybrid offspring between populations suffer from lowered fitness in the form of lower fecundity, slow development and lower ATP production as determined by several previous experiments," Barreto said."

Perhaps the hybrid offspring are victims of localised pollutants, as well as from other factors such as lack of parental tolerance to some environmental situations that prohibit adaptive genetic measures, which would render the next generation equally intolerant of changes to environment...resulting in further mutations.
humy
5 / 5 (1) Jul 15, 2018
Morality is an entirely human construct and should have limited to no place in science.

I think understand what you mean but others would misunderstand what you mean because you should make it clear that what you are referring to here by "science" is NOT how science is applied but rather is just its correct understanding of and the knowledge itself. That's if I correctly understand you.
rrwillsj
1 / 5 (2) Jul 15, 2018
Sorry hunny but you are grossly overestimating the humanity of SCV, He really does mean to say that in his self-delusion of adequacy, he visualizes himself as the Apex Predator. With a righteous entitlement to feast off everyone else's bones!

To paraphrase Samuel Clemens: "SCV is a lizard, bragging of having dinosaur ancestors."
Surveillance_Egg_Unit
4 / 5 (4) Jul 16, 2018
Morality is an entirely human construct and should have limited to no place in science.

says SCV

I beg to differ. The concept and action of Morality is found in many other species besides Homo Sapiens, although those other species are less likely to be aware of exactly WHY they are exhibiting a moralistic behaviour. Different species of apes very rarely trouble themselves with the behaviours of Immorality.

But unfortunately, there are at least SOME humans who indulge in Immorality, and history is replete with the facts of their actions/bad behaviours. The Vatican/Roman Catholic Church has supposedly been the Bastion of Morality since the advent of the first Pope. And yet, we are finding that the allegations of purity within the priesthood is a lie. There, Morality is nonexistent. It has been a harrowing experience for many Catholic lay people to have discovered this, and many or most have lost their faith and trust in Catholic clergy.

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