Scientists at the University of Florida revealed what genetic mutations influenced the disappearance of limbs in snakes. It turned out that the section of DNA that controls the gene responsible for the appearance of legs, there were a number of changes. Information about them was published by Current Biology.
According to the researchers, 150 million years ago snakes, like other reptiles, moved by using the feet. However, at some point an error occurred in stretches of DNA that increase the activity of the gene Sonic hedgehog. It is responsible for the development of limbs in the embryo development.
During the experiments, the researchers used the embryos of Python. They found out that the activity of the gene Sonic hedgehog is interrupted at the initial stage of formation of the body of a snake, giving to the end of developing limbs. While the rest of the mechanism required for the formation of the paws still in the bodies of pythons and Boas. Noteworthy is the fact that in their structure are still genes that control the growth of the fingers.
It is noted that some species of snakes, for example cobras and vipers — have experienced a greater number of DNA changes that affected the lack of even a semblance of legs.