Understanding how fireflies evolved their glow

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posted on Mar, 14 2014 @ 03:16 PM
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Turns out that light produced by these little guys may have been a "random accident". I'd prefer to think of it as a "happy accident"



The protein that illuminates the bugs, luciferase, turns out to be closely related to one that's normally involved in basic fat metabolism. In the new paper, researchers show that, given the right chemical, the enzyme that's used to make fat can also cause the cells of a fruit fly to glow.


"In principle, the presence of a latent luciferase in fruit flies means that these insects could be rendered bioluminescent if treated with [our chemical] CycLuc2," the authors note. "However, we were unable to detect bioluminescence from fruit flies fed food containing 100 μM CycLuc2." The results suggest that a random accident—getting the right chemical in cells with a particular enzyme—provided enough glow for evolution to start selecting for it. And, with enough time, both the chemical and the enzyme became specialized, producing a brighter, more intense glow.


And, if you've ever seen a night sky filled with fireflies, you'll know it's a pretty spectacular end point for an enzyme that started out making fat.

Source




posted on Mar, 14 2014 @ 04:04 PM
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reply to post by usertwelve
 

Interesting, just don't tell Monsantos, or they might start making glow in the dark fruit!

And, if you've ever seen a night sky filled with fireflies, you'll know it's a pretty spectacular end point for an enzyme that started out making fat.

Indeed



posted on Mar, 14 2014 @ 04:36 PM
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I used to spend summer nights chasing them with my sister. Now I live less than 50 miles from where I grew up and I never see them.



posted on Mar, 14 2014 @ 08:20 PM
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reply to post by usertwelve
 


I love fireflys... they are amazing little creatures.




leolady



posted on Mar, 14 2014 @ 11:37 PM
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reply to post by usertwelve
 



Turns out that light produced by these little guys may have been a "random accident".

It's a mutation. Aside from mutations induced in the laboratory, all mutations are 'random accidents'.



posted on Mar, 15 2014 @ 03:58 AM
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speculativeoptimist

Interesting, just don't tell Monsantos, or they might start making glow in the dark fruit!


AHEM! www.popsci.com...





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