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Reverse-engineering the T. rex genome
> Has the avian genome been mapped enough to find out what makes them
Gallus gallus has been mapped, but its one thing to map the thing. It's
another challenge, entirely,
to correlate genes with function. Researchers have hardly begun on such a
correlation of any of the avian-specific diseases.
I'm no gene person, but here is my train of thought on the matter:
Something makes avians uniquely suseptable to the bacterial infection of their
jaw. It could be:
- The genes, themselves, don't code for any defenses against the bacterium.
- The genes in SOME avians get switched "off" (or "on"), which opens the door
for the infection to proceed. OR....
- It could be in nuclear genes, only..... OR....
- It could be mitochondrial genes, only....OR....
- It could be an interaction between both nuclear genese and mitochondrial
Whatever the cause, it IS genetic (what else could it be?), and it is shared
between at least T. rex and birds.
The exciting part is that this is just one avian disease that shows up in the
bones. How many other avian-only diseases express themselves as a bone
A segment of genetic material (nuclear or mtChondrial), related to this
disease, is shared between birds and T. rex. When researchers pin-point the
segment, then they have also discovered (unwittingly?) a segment of T. rex
genetic material, even though they don't have a physical sample of the gene(s)
in their hands.
If researchers find other avian-specific diseases that express bone
pathologies, and if these diseases are also discovered in T. rex bones, then
more segments of the T. rex gene will be "recovered".
If my logic is correct, then this newly-found T. rex pathology has
ramifications far beyond simply knowing what diseases it got. Granted, it's
not quite as exciting as extracting actual T. rex bio-molecules like Mary
Schweitzer and her team does, but its pretty close to it.
On Sat, Oct 3, 2009 at 7:12 PM, Phillip Bigelow <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
The recent discovery of a jaw disease, purportedly an avian disease, in T. rex
got me thankin' 'bout thangs (and that is usually dangerous).
Assuming that, since the jaw disease is taxa-specific, that would mean that the
afflicted taxa would share the same segment of the genome that causes the
animal to get sick.
Does the discovery of this jaw disease in T. rex give us a clue as to what a
segment of a T. rex genome looked like? Would this mean that that gene
(whereever it is) was shared between birds and T. rex?
How many genetic diseases to living birds have?
Could they provide us any clues as to the gene structure of tyrannosaurids?
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