Dinner party gene

日期:2017-06-10 01:21:25 作者:娄情倦 阅读:

A SINGLE gene seems to determine whether or not a roundworm prefers to dine alone, says a report in Cell (vol 94, p 679). When placed on a dish full of bacteria, roundworm either graze as a herd or strike out in different directions. To find out what controls this innate social behaviour, Cornelia Bargmann and her colleagues at the University of California in San Francisco collected 17 strains of the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans from around the world. They analysed a gene closely related to a human gene that influences appetite. All 12 social strains had one version of the gene and all 5 solitary strains had another. The difference between them was a single amino acid change in the gene’s product. When the researchers changed this single amino acid in the solitary strain, the worms instead ate in groups,