science

Researchers have discovered the secret of the rabbit hopping: it’s all in genes Genetics

It sounds like a dilemma that Rudyard Kipling could have tackled in his country Just so storiesBut it turns out that the reason rabbits hopping is not in myths but in genetics.

The researchers say that by studying an unusual breed of rabbit that walks on its front paws, they have identified a key gene necessary for the animals to adopt a typical gait. For rabbits, as well as animals like rabbits and kangaroos, this is the ability to jump.

“If you are [were to] Enter the same mutation [seen in these unusual rabbits] “For humans, you will not remove mobility but you will change our mobility in another way,” said Professor Lev Anderson, co-author of the research, from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Writing for Plus Genetics, Anderson and colleagues report how they made their discovery by focusing on the Sautor de Alfort breed of domestic rabbits. Instead of jumping, these animals adopt a “handstand” and walk forward on their front paws. The breed is also known to suffer from eye problems, including blindness and cataracts.

Both traits were known from reproductive experiments to be caused by a mutation in a single gene. However, the gene containing the mutation was unknown.

Why do rabbits jump?  - Video
Why do rabbits jump? – Video

To dig deeper, Anderson and his colleagues bred Sottor Alfort rabbits with New Zealand white rabbits – a hopping breed – confirming previous theories that two copies of the mutated gene for rabbits were needed to lose their recoil.

The researchers then performed a genetic analysis of rabbits, revealing that the inability to jump appears to be due to a single locus mutation in a gene known as RORB. Swtor Alfort rabbits have been found to have two versions of this mutation. However, the mutation has not been found in other hares and domestic breeds of rabbits, or in a group of other mammals including humans.

“DNA sequences important to function are largely conserved across species,” Anderson said.

Anderson said that the RORB gene critically produces a protein that turns on and off other genes. He added that if this gene does not function properly, production of other proteins in the spinal cord may not be properly regulated, affecting the way the spinal cord coordinates messages between the brain and the muscles of the limbs.

In fact, further work by the team found that rabbits with two copies of the RORB mutation do not have a detectable RORB protein in their spinal cord.

The team say their finding is linked to previous work showing that mice that had a mutation in their RORB gene were not only suffering from eye problems but an unusual gait that resembled a duck bobbing.

However, Anderson said the RORB gene wasn’t the only gene important for walking. For example, a file The ability of horses to walk, Which is found in certain breeds such as Icelandic pony, has been previously linked with a mutation in a gene known as DMRT3.

Arne Ludwig, a professor of animal genetics at the Albrecht Daniel Thaer Institute at Humboldt University and the Leibniz Zoo and Wildlife Research Institute in Berlin, who was not involved in the study, said walking is a complex trait.

“Many genes are involved, and this study shows that RORB is one of them,” he said.

But he added that raising fried rabbits is a concern given the range of disorders they suffer from. “It is possible that the vaccinated rabbits will not have a chance to survive in nature,” he said.

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