About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Sex Switch Mutation in Melon Gene Offers Clues to Evolution of Sex

by Thilaka Ravi on August 8, 2008 at 4:09 PM
Font : A-A+

 Sex Switch Mutation in Melon Gene Offers Clues to Evolution of Sex

French and American researchers have discovered a new function of a gene for sexual switching in melons that can provide a great deal of information about evolution of sexual systems in plants. While French scientists led by Abdel Bendahmane of the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), isolated the melon sex determination gene and determined its function, New York University biologists Jonathan Flowers and Michael Purugganan conducted the evolutionary analysis of the study.

The sexual system in melons, called andromonoecy, carries both male and bisexual flowers and appears to have evolved recently, and the scientists in the study aimed at understanding what determines the recent formation of melons' new sexual system.

"If we can understand how different sexual systems in plants have evolved, we can then begin to understand how sex in general evolves," explained Purugganan.

Focussing their study on the role of hormone ethylene, which is known to help fruit ripen, the French scientists determined that an enzyme involved in making this gaseous hormone also plays a role in the evolution of the sexual switch of female flowers to hermaphrodites. This finding links hormone levels to sex determination in flowers.

They also wanted to find out if the change in ethylene levels, and therefore the resulting sexual system, was the result of evolutionary selection. Thus, they looked at the ethylene enzyme gene, called CmACS-7, which had the mutation that causes the sex change in melons.

When the researchers examined the molecular diversity in this gene, compared it with other genes in the melon genome, and used mathematical modeling, it was concluded that the level of molecular variation at the sex determining ethylene enzyme gene was not something that occurred by chance.

Instead, the pattern was consistent with evolutionary selection favouring the sex switch mutation in melons.

"Humans and other mammals generally have only two sexes - males and females. But other species, including plants, can evolve bewildering arrays of sexual combinations," observed Purugganan.

He suggested that this study provides us with new insights into the molecular basis for sex determination, enabling us to understand the advantages of different sexual systems.

The study appears in the latest issue of the journal Science.

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
DNA Finger Printing Sex Facts Prostitution: Fresh Stakes in the Oldest Trade Sexual Intercourse Facts Safe Sex Top Ten Trivial Sex Facts Top Ten Sex Tips for Men Sex Numbers How Do Viruses Mutate and Why Does it Matter? 

Recommended Reading
Genetic Counseling
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general info about Genetic counseling ...
The Watermelon Health Facts
For stunning looks like that of Brangelina Jolie and winning knocks like Sachin and Dhoni - go for ....
DNA Finger Printing
DNA fingerprinting is a technique which helps forensic scientists and legal experts solve crimes, id...
How Do Viruses Mutate and Why Does it Matter?
Mutations are the sudden changes that occur in genetic materials. They occur as a part of evolution ...
Prostitution: Fresh Stakes in the Oldest Trade
Prostitution has broadened its base to include street prostitution, massage brothels, gigolo outcall...
Safe Sex
Sex is fun but involves health risks such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs or unplanned pregna...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use