New genetic analyses have revealed that mutations in regulatory DNA caused ratite birds to lose their ability to fly, according to a report that has been published in Science.

Researchers believe that ratites (emus, ostriches, kiwis, cassowaries, tinamous and the extinct elephant birds) and other mutations, where proteins were altered and created more damage than changes in an animal’s DNA.

Camille Berthelot, an evolutionary geneticist at INSERM, a French national medical research institute in Paris, said that protein may have been involved in the biological processes in the body, which meant that protein may have been involved in many biological process and has altered its other DNAs. “So everywhere this protein is [made], there’s going to be consequences,” she said.

According to ScienceNews, many pieces of DNA may have been involved in the regulation of a gene’s activity, and each of them may contrast from one tissue to another.

“That reduces the damage that changing one’s regulatory segment might have, rendering those bits of DNA easy targets for evolution’s experiments,” Megan Phifer-Rixey of Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey. “But, at the same time, it also makes it much harder to determine when regulatory DNA is actually involved in big evolutionary changes.”

Aside from that, researchers found that more than 200 protein-coding genes were evolving and building up mutations, but it has been concluded that protein-coding changes are not as important as the loss of feather.

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