Biology / Biochemistry News

Study Finds Fit Females Make More Daughters, Mighty Males Get Grandsons

Females influence the gender of their offspring so they inherit either their mother's or grandfather's qualities. 'High-quality' females - those which produce more offspring - are more likely to have daughters. Weaker females, whose own fathers were stronger and more successful, produce more sons.

The study, by scientists at the University of Exeter (UK), Okayama University and Kyushu University (Japan), is published in the journal Ecology Letters. It shows for the first time that females are able to manipulate the sex of their offspring to compensate for the fact that some of the genes which make a good male make a bad female and vice versa.

A Gene For Depression Localized, Reports New Study In Biological Psychiatry

Psychiatric disorders can be described on many levels, the most traditional of which are subjective descriptions of the experience of being depressed and the use of rating scales that quantify depressive symptoms. Over the past two decades, research has developed other strategies for describing the biological underpinnings of depression, including volumetric brain measurements using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and the patterns of gene expression in white blood cells.

During this period, a great deal of research has attempted to characterize the genes that cause depression as reflected in rating scales of mood states, alterations in brain structure and function as measured by MRI, and gene expression patterns in post-mortem brain tissue from people who had depression.

New Clues To Human Deafness Found In Mice

Providing clues to deafness, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified a gene that is required for proper development of the mouse inner ear.

In humans, this gene, known as FGF20, is located in a portion of the genome that has been associated with inherited deafness in otherwise healthy families.

"When we inactivated FGF20 in mice, we saw they were alive and healthy," says senior author David M. Ornitz, MD, PhD, the Alumni Endowed Professor of Developmental Biology. "But then we figured out that they had absolutely no ability to hear."


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