Scientists explore the ability to adapt and survive

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The ability to regulate salt and water balance is a significant challenge for animals living in freshwater habitats around the world. In a published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists have studied the lamprey, an ancient group of jawless fish that can live in freshwater and saltwater. They discovered a hormone similar to prolactin that regulates salt transport proteins, allowing the lamprey to adapt and survive in water gentle.

“This work helps us understand how ancient earth animals may have moved from oceans to freshwater habitats,” said Mark Sheridan, professor of biology and dean of the Graduate School at Texas Tech University, who led the study. “This work also helps us understand the evolution of the prolactin-growth hormone family, which regulates a host of functions in animals and humans, including growth, development, reproduction, immune function and behavior, in addition to this ancient action on salt and water balance.

The project was a collaboration between Texas Tech, the University of Massachusetts and the US Geological Survey and was funded by the National Science Foundation.

– This press release was originally posted on the Texas Tech University website

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