martedì 20 settembre 2016

# s-evol: pinnacle of nastiness, an example of natural flexibility

<< [..] venom genes might not be consistent even within a single species of rattlesnake, perhaps because snakes in different areas specialize in different prey. One western diamondback rattlesnake that Carroll’s team [Sean B. Carroll] sampled had unexpected extra genes that the other western diamondbacks didn’t have. >>

<< As for the ancestral rattlesnake, it’s impossible to say exactly how powerful the now-extinct reptile’s venom was, Carroll says. But the wider variety of enzymes this rattlesnake could hypothetically produce would have given it more flexibility to adapt its poison to environmental curveballs — an ability that Castoe [Todd Castoe] describes as “the pinnacle of nastiness.” >>

Laurel Hamers. Rattlesnakes have reduced their repertoire of venoms. September 15, 2016

Noah L. Dowell, Matt W. Giorgianni, et al. The Deep Origin and Recent Loss of Venom Toxin Genes in Rattlesnakes. Current Biology. DOI:
Published: Sept.15, 2016

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