Everybody knows that children can borrow some physical traits form their parents and other relatives. Recently, a team of biologists discovered that, even if we cannot notice that at a first glance, a part of our genetic heritage is passed on by our mothers. According to them, knowing how the early development stages take place, can be helpful in understanding the patterns of animal development in natural environments. Also, it will contribute to determining the structure of the evolutionary tree.
The mothers’ genome plays an important role in the development of their offspring
Studies show that genetic interaction is one of the most important factors in an organism’s development. Furthermore, it mainly influences the evolution and can determine a part of the offspring’s traits.
Matthew Rockman, a scientist who took part in the study and works at the Department of Biology from New York University, says that, for example, a mother’s genome can have influence on the offspring’s size. On the other hand, the other traits are developed by the offspring’s genome and here we can observe an anomaly. The result can be genetic mismatches between the two organisms and sometimes, the offspring can find it difficult to adapt to ecological conditions.
During this study, biologists analysed the transition from indirect to direct development for the first time. The analysis was necessary because this type of transition is probably the most common evolutionary process throughout the entire history of animal life. Although they studied a small marine worm, biologists say that the pattern is similar to many species.
The conclusion is that mating between populations which have a different developmental process can lead to mutations. Also, it could determine the adaptation to some environmental factors, like salinity, food quantity, predators and more.