Gene that helps fish 'disappear' discovered

Washington, Oct 30 (ANI): Scientists have discovered a new member of a gene family that has powerful influences on pigmentation and the regulation of body weight.

The new gene, called agrp2, has been found exclusively in bony fish, including zebra fish, trout and salmon and enables fish to change colour dramatically to match their surroundings.

Fish, amphibians and reptiles can change their skin colour in a matter of minutes.

Vanderbilt's Roger Cone and his team demonstrated that the newly discovered protein, AgRP2, regulates expression of the prohormone genes pmch and pmchl, precursors to melanin-concentrating hormone, which has a pigment-lightening effect.

"Together, the versatile agouti proteins and melanocortin receptors are responsible for regulation of body weight, the banded patterns of mammalian coats, and even red hair in most people," Cone said.

The study is published in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (ANI)

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