Key Adaptation (key + adaptation)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Variation in Heat-shock Proteins and Photosynthetic Thermotolerance among Natural Populations of Chenopodium album L. from Contrasting Thermal Environments: Implications for Plant Responses to Global Warming

Deepak Barua
Abstract Production of heat-shock proteins (Hsps) is a key adaptation to acute heat stress and will be important in determining plant responses to climate change. Further, intraspecifc variation in Hsps, which will influence species-level response to global warming, has rarely been examined in naturally occurring plants. To understand intraspecific variation in plant Hsps and its relevance to global warming, we examined Hsp content and thermotolerance in five naturally occurring populations of Chenopodium album L. from contrasting thermal environments grown at low and high temperatures. As expected, Hsp accumulation varied between populations, but this was related more to habitat variability than to mean temperature. Unexpectedly, Hsp accumulation decreased with increasing variability of habitat temperatures. Hsp accumulation also decreased with increased experimental growth temperatures. Physiological thermotolerance was partitioned into basal and induced components. As with Hsps, induced thermotolerance decreased with increasing temperature variability. Thus, populations native to the more stressful habitats, or grown at higher temperatures, had lower Hsp levels and induced thermotolerance, suggesting a greater reliance on basal mechanisms for thermotolerance. These results suggest that future global climate change will differentially impact ecotypes within species, possibly by selecting for increased basal versus inducible thermotolerance. [source]

Long-lasting up-regulation of orexin receptor type 2 protein levels in the rat nucleus accumbens after chronic cocaine administration

Guo-Chi Zhang
Abstract Hypothalamic orexin (hypocretin) neurons project to the key structures of the limbic system and orexin receptors, both orexin receptor type 1 (OXR1) and type 2 (OXR2), are expressed in most limbic regions. Emerging evidence suggests that orexin is among important neurotransmitters that regulate addictive properties of drugs of abuse. In this study, we examined the effect of psychostimulant cocaine on orexin receptor protein abundance in the rat limbic system in vivo. Intermittent administration of cocaine (20 mg/kg, i.p., once daily for 5 days) caused a typical behavioral sensitization response to a challenge cocaine injection at a 14-day withdrawal period. Repeated cocaine administration at the same withdrawal time also increased OXR2 protein levels in the nucleus accumbens while repeated cocaine had no effect on OXR1 and orexin neuropeptide (both orexin-A and orexin-B) levels in this region. In contrast to the nucleus accumbens, OXR2 levels in the frontal cortex, the ventral tegmental area, the hippocampus, and the dorsal striatum (caudate putamen) were not altered by cocaine. Remarkably, the up-regulated OXR2 levels in the nucleus accumbens showed a long-lasting nature as it persisted up to 60 days after the discontinuation of repeated cocaine treatments. In contrast to chronic cocaine administration, an acute cocaine injection was insufficient to modify levels of any orexin receptor and peptide. Our data identify the up-regulation of OXR2 in the nucleus accumbens as an enduring molecular event that is correlated well with behavioral plasticity in response to chronic psychostimulant administration. This OXR2 up-regulation may reflect a key adaptation of limbic orexinergic transmission to chronic drug exposure and may thus be critical for the expression of motor plasticity. [source]

The origin and early evolution of dinosaurs

Max C. Langer
The oldest unequivocal records of Dinosauria were unearthed from Late Triassic rocks (approximately 230 Ma) accumulated over extensional rift basins in southwestern Pangea. The better known of these are Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis, Pisanosaurus mertii, Eoraptor lunensis, and Panphagia protos from the Ischigualasto Formation, Argentina, and Staurikosaurus pricei and Saturnalia tupiniquim from the Santa Maria Formation, Brazil. No uncontroversial dinosaur body fossils are known from older strata, but the Middle Triassic origin of the lineage may be inferred from both the footprint record and its sister-group relation to Ladinian basal dinosauromorphs. These include the typical Marasuchus lilloensis, more basal forms such as Lagerpeton and Dromomeron, as well as silesaurids: a possibly monophyletic group composed of Mid-Late Triassic forms that may represent immediate sister taxa to dinosaurs. The first phylogenetic definition to fit the current understanding of Dinosauria as a node-based taxon solely composed of mutually exclusive Saurischia and Ornithischia was given as "all descendants of the most recent common ancestor of birds and Triceratops". Recent cladistic analyses of early dinosaurs agree that Pisanosaurus mertii is a basal ornithischian; that Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis and Staurikosaurus pricei belong in a monophyletic Herrerasauridae; that herrerasaurids, Eoraptor lunensis, and Guaibasaurus candelariensis are saurischians; that Saurischia includes two main groups, Sauropodomorpha and Theropoda; and that Saturnalia tupiniquim is a basal member of the sauropodomorph lineage. On the contrary, several aspects of basal dinosaur phylogeny remain controversial, including the position of herrerasaurids, E. lunensis, and G. candelariensis as basal theropods or basal saurischians, and the affinity and/or validity of more fragmentary taxa such as Agnosphitys cromhallensis, Alwalkeria maleriensis, Chindesaurus bryansmalli, Saltopus elginensis, and Spondylosoma absconditum. The identification of dinosaur apomorphies is jeopardized by the incompleteness of skeletal remains attributed to most basal dinosauromorphs, the skulls and forelimbs of which are particularly poorly known. Nonetheless, Dinosauria can be diagnosed by a suite of derived traits, most of which are related to the anatomy of the pelvic girdle and limb. Some of these are connected to the acquisition of a fully erect bipedal gait, which has been traditionally suggested to represent a key adaptation that allowed, or even promoted, dinosaur radiation during Late Triassic times. Yet, contrary to the classical "competitive" models, dinosaurs did not gradually replace other terrestrial tetrapods over the Late Triassic. In fact, the radiation of the group comprises at least three landmark moments, separated by controversial (Carnian-Norian, Triassic-Jurassic) extinction events. These are mainly characterized by early diversification in Carnian times, a Norian increase in diversity and (especially) abundance, and the occupation of new niches from the Early Jurassic onwards. Dinosaurs arose from fully bipedal ancestors, the diet of which may have been carnivorous or omnivorous. Whereas the oldest dinosaurs were geographically restricted to south Pangea, including rare ornithischians and more abundant basal members of the saurischian lineage, the group achieved a nearly global distribution by the latest Triassic, especially with the radiation of saurischian groups such as "prosauropods" and coelophysoids. [source]


EVOLUTION, Issue 8 2008
The importance of contingency versus predictability in evolution has been a long-standing issue, particularly the interaction between genetic background, founder effects, and selection. Here we address experimentally the effects of genetic background and founder events on the repeatability of laboratory adaptation in Drosophila subobscura populations for several functional traits. We found disparate starting points for adaptation among laboratory populations derived from independently sampled wild populations for all traits. With respect to the subsequent evolutionary rate during laboratory adaptation, starvation resistance varied considerably among foundations such that the outcome of laboratory evolution is rather unpredictable for this particular trait, even in direction. In contrast, the laboratory evolution of traits closely related to fitness was less contingent on the circumstances of foundation. These findings suggest that the initial laboratory evolution of weakly selected characters may be unpredictable, even when the key adaptations under evolutionary domestication are predictable with respect to their trajectories. [source]