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Schwartz publishes paper in Biology Letters

Published: 01/31/2017

tonia-schwartzTonia Schwartz, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, published a paper titled “Here and there, but not everywhere: repeated loss of uncoupling protein 1 in amniotes,” in the scientific journal, Biology Letters.

In the paper, Schwartz and co-author, Suzanne McGaugh, assistant professor in the College of Biological Sciences at the University of Minnesota, explore the occurrence of body heat in animals.

Schwartz explained that unlike most animals, mammals and birds generate body heat. Uncoupling protein 1, or UCP1, contributes to heat production in mammals, but not birds, which are missing the UCP1 gene.

In the paper, Schwartz and McGaugh demonstrate that the UCP1 gene is missing from all reptiles. Furthermore, as UCP1 is present in fish, the authors conclude that the gene was lost early in the evolution of the reptile-bird lineage.

Despite the role of UCP1 in mammal heat production, Schwartz and McGaugh also confirm previous reports that a functional UCP1 was lost in pigs, and present evidence that a functional UCP1 is missing in dolphin, orca, armadillo and, likely, sloth and hyrax.

The journal Biology Letters is a Royal Society Publication. Click here to read the paper.

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