Shona Wood publiserer i Nature Communications

Shona Wood Foto: David Jensen

Shona Wood publiserer i Nature Communications

Shona Wood, som mottok TFS Starting Grant i 2016 har fått antatt en artikkel i Nature Communications. Hennes forskning omhandler hvordan timing er helt avgjørende for overlevelse av ville dyr. Ville dyr må tilpasse fysiologiske prosesser til sesongmessige variasjoner, og dette er spesielt viktig i arktiske strøk.

A short summary of the paper:

Timing is crucial for survival. Wild animals must adapt their physiology at the right time in relation to their changing environment, and this is even more important in strongly seasonal environments like the Arctic. Timing is about anticipating and responding to changes. For this, organisms have an internal calendar that tracks the seasons, but how this internal seasonal calendar is synchronised to the environment has been a mystery.  Dr. Shona Wood and her team from UiT have been working together with research teams from the Universities of Manchester and Edinburgh to solve this mystery, and in this paper in Nature Communications, they demonstrate that animals use components of their daily clockwork to synchronise their internal seasonal calendar. However, these clock components can only work if their target genes can be accessed. For this, seasonal epigenetic changes have to take place altering the accessibility to these key genes and triggering a cascade of physiological changes to prepare for changing seasons. These results constitute a blueprint for circadian-based seasonal timekeeping in vertebrates, but it remains to be determined if these mechanisms are used in Arctic species, who appear to lack circadian organization of behavior. This is a part of ongoing research at UiT.

The first author, Dr. Shona Wood, is supported by the Tromsø Forskningsstiftelse starter grant. The research was funded by grants from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council UK and a Human Sciences Frontier Programme.