Friday, March 03, 2006

 

Convergent evolution of molecules in electric fish

"AUSTIN, Texas - Having a set of extra genes gave fish on separate continents the ability to evolve electric organs, report researchers from The University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Harold Zakon and colleagues, in a paper recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that African and South American groups of fish independently evolved electric organs by modifying sodium channel proteins typically used in muscle contraction.

Mutations in sodium channel proteins can cause serious muscular disorders, epilepsy and heart problems in humans and other vertebrates." [News, PNAS]

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