May 24th, 2006 by ravi
Genetic inheritence through RNA

Next time you meet a reductionist, you can wave this bit of news at him! 

BBC | Spotty mice flout genetics laws


The scientists, based at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, used mice which carry one normal version of Kit and one mutant version, giving them spotted tails.

They bred these mice together, producing offspring with a range of Kit gene combinations:

* two mutant genes (these are shown to die shortly after birth)
* one mutant and one normal gene (these should be "spotty" like their parents)
* two normal genes (these should not be spotty).

However, the researchers found that mice born with two normal versions of Kit also had a spotted appendage.

"We were very surprised to see this," said Professor Minoo Rassoulzadegan, a geneticist at the University of Nice and lead author on the paper.

After further investigation, the scientists suggested the transfer of RNA molecules as the cause.


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2 Responses

  • Mark Stahl says:

    I guess I’m not a reductionist because, while I’ve never heard of this mode of inheritance, I can’t see any reason that it violates my concept of evolutionary biology.

    But I’m not sure how much I’d call it “inheritence” if the trait doesn’t persist through multiple generations. (But I can imagine ways this might be possible …)

    Now, if only someone can explain to me why prion protiens persist in the genome …

  • ravi says:

    What’s a prion protein?! You are way ahead of me here! Is it one of those hybrid cars? ;-)

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