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Very interesting work

Posted by arjunraj on 05 May 2014 at 03:48 GMT

I love this sort of work probing basic questions in development! I wish there was more of it.

I have also been fascinated by the problem of how development scales with temperature for some time. We had a recent study in which we looked at gene expression in C. elegans development as a function of temperature, and found that it scaled spookily well: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.g...

A few interesting points in relationship to the models of how this could happen. We actually looked at a metabolic mutant with longer lifetime, like you mention towards the end of your paper. It has a longer embryogenesis, even at the *same* temperature, and also exhibits perfect scaling. So whatever the "clock mechanism" may be, it is not temperature dependent per se, but perhaps instead dependent on some general metabolic rate in some way. We also found that cell divisions are not the "clock", because you can move them around and transcription still occurs at the same relative time, regardless of whether the relevant division happened or not.

What is then hard to imagine is what single step could be common between all the different biological processes going on during development. Our RNA dynamics seem to be essentially perfectly scaled, including both the up and the down, suggesting that both transcription rate and degradation rate are scaling, but that's probably just the tip of the iceberg–your data nicely shows that all sorts of things are scaling well. Hmm.

Anyway, really nice paper!

No competing interests declared.