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Biologists create a mutant fly with 140 million year old genes

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The work, described in the journal eLife, was achieved using cutting-edge gene insertion techniques to replace a particular modern day protein with ancestral proteins in a living fly. The purpose was to test whether it could create functions which had long since been absent. The scientists discovered that two mutations millions of years ago altered the function of a developmental gene, which regulates development of the fruit fly’s head. This chance mutation has since become an indispensable aspect of modern fruit flies. Fly embryos without the modern day Bicoid protein die very early since they form tail structures at both ends of their body, rather than forming a head.



“Ancestral changes in protein sequences are thought to be responsible for the evolution of diverse animal forms, but finding which historical changes were most critical has eluded scientists until very recently,” Stephen Small, an NYU biologist, told Digital Trends. “The ancestral protein’s function was to bind to a specific set of DNA sequences, and turn on a set of target genes based on that sequence. By comparing the ancestral protein sequence with its modern day descendants, the research team identified two specific amino acid changes that allowed the modern day protein to bind to a completely different set of DNA sequences, compared to the ancestral protein. [The work] further showed that these changes allowed the [modern] protein to activate a novel set of target genes in the developing embryo and acquire a central role in the embryogenesis of a subset of insect species.”

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The two amino acid changes identified by the researchers endow the ancestral protein with some of Bicoid’s modern day activities. However, there are still questions to be answered. Specifically, the researchers want to know which changes occurred to evolve a fully functional Bicoid protein. “We are currently extending our studies to identify all the sequences changes that led to the evolution of the modern day protein,” Small said.

No, we’re not going to see 140-million-year-old flies buzzing around any time soon. But between this work and Harvard University’s work to bring back the woolly mammoth through cloning, this is sure an exciting time in our history. Better yet, make that pre-history!

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Crime

French president pledges to oust anti-Semitism

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France President Emmanuel Macron has disclosed his intention to end anti-Semitism due to the  rate in which racism is growing.



When addressing the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions (CRIF), he pledge to introduce legislation to oust hate speech and expresses his desire to cooperate with social media firms to identify the authors.

“Our country, and for that matter all of Europe and most Western democracies, seems to be facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism unseen since World War II,” Macron said on Wednesday.

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In addition he said “Behind the negation of Israel’s existence, what is hiding is the hatred of Jews.”

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French president added that anti-Semitism is based on “radical Islamism” as a rampant ideology in France’s multi-ethnic, poor neighborhoods.

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Crime

Fire out-break leave scores dead in Bangladesh’s Capital, Dhaka.

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Two source knowledgeable with the blaze that broke out on Wednesday evening has confirmed that the incident had claim at least 60 resident in Bangladesh’s Capital, Dhaka.



The fire fighter was seen struggling to bring the blaze under control as the fire wax stronger when it spread to surrounding house filled with plastic and gas cylinder.

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However, many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition, duo the authorities has disclose that DNA test will be conducted and has assure the resident that they will conduct an investigate the cause of the fire.

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President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed deep shock at the incident and sympathy with the families of those killed in the fire.

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Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal visited the scene and announced the formation of a committee to investigate the fire, which will submit its report within seven days.

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