New evolutionary driver found

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New evolutionary driver found

The article is very heavy on technical terminology, so you may find you need to look things up as you read it in order to understand it.

October 13, 2016

European Bioinformatics Institute EMBL-EBI

The evolutionary history of thousands of protein modifications in 18 related species have now been reconstructed by a team of scientists. Their findings highlight a previously unknown strategy for generating the diversity needed for natural selection.

Previous studies comparing proteins in related species have shown very few mutations, so PTMs have not been considered to be a major factor in generating diversity. In today's study, the group found that only a few mutations are actually required to change these protein-modification sites. In other words, a small number of changes can have a big impact on how proteins and cells work.

"These mutations were hidden in plain sight -- we could see them all along, but didn't know they could have such significant consequences," says Beltrao. "We only see it now after many years of developing and refining new experimental methods."

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