New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

NYU Biologist’s Research Named Among 15 “Evolutionary Gems” by Nature Magazine

January 7, 2009
N-214, 2008-2009

A study on genetic variation authored by biologists at New York University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has been cited as one of the 15 “evolutionary gems” by Nature magazine. The publication selected 15 studies published by Nature over the past decade that “illustrate the breadth, depth, and power of evolutionary thinking” as part of its celebration of the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin, who was born on Feb. 12, 1809.

The study, authored by NYU’s Mark Siegal, an assistant professor and part of NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, and Aviv Bergman, a professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, explores a component of “evolutionary capacitance”-that is, do species who remain mostly unchanged for millions of years, then change dramatically and suddenly, store the potential for these sudden alterations, unleashing a flood of otherwise hidden variation at times of environmental stress?

Early research modeled evolutionary capacitance by showing, with experiments on fruit flies, that key proteins involved in the regulation of developmental processes are “chaperoned” by a protein called Hsp90. Hsp90 is produced more at times of stress. On occasion, Hsp90 is overwhelmed by other processes and the proteins it normally regulates are left to run free, producing a welter of otherwise hidden variation.

In their study, published in 2003, Siegal and Bergman explored whether evolutionary capacitance is particular to Hsp90 or, rather, found more generally. They used numerical simulations of complex gene networks and genome-wide expression data from yeast strains in which single genes had been deleted. They showed that most, and perhaps all, genes hold variation in reserve that is released only when they are functionally compromised. Their findings suggested that evolutionary capacitance goes wider and deeper than a single protein.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
Graduate School of Arts and Science, Research

Type: Press Release

naturecmykred

Search News



NYU In the News

CUSP Unveils its “Urban Observatory”

Crain’s New York Business profiled CUSP’s “Urban Observatory” that is continuously photographing lower Manhattan to gather scientific data.

Post-Sandy Upgrades at the Langone Medical Center

NY1 reported on the major post-Sandy upgrades and renovations made at the Medical Center to protect the hospital from future catastrophic storms.

Steinhardt Research Helps Solve Tough Speech Problems.

The Wall Street Journal reported on research at Steinhardt’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, including an interview with Assistant Professor Tara McAllister Byun, that uses ultrasound to help solve tough speech problems.

Times Column Lauds Professor Stevenson’s New Memoir

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a column about “Just Mercy,” a new memoir by Law Professor Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, whom he noted has been called America’s Nelson Mandela.

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

NYU Footer