Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
AgriGenomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Shark, Human Proteins are Surprisingly Similar

Published: Friday, December 06, 2013
Last Updated: Friday, December 06, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Despite widespread fascination with sharks, the world’s oldest ocean predators have long been a genetic mystery.

The first deep dive into a great white shark’s genetic code has fished up big surprises behind a design so effective it has barely changed since before dinosaurs roamed.

Researchers have discovered that many of the endangered great white shark’s proteins involved in an array of different functions – including metabolism – match humans more closely than they do zebrafish, the quintessential fish model.

Michael Stanhope, professor of evolutionary genomics at Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and scientists at the Save Our Seas Shark Research Center at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) published the study in the November issue of BMC Genomics. It lays the foundation for genomic exploration of sharks and vastly expands genetic tools for their conservation, said Stanhope.

“We were very surprised to find, that for many categories of proteins, sharks share more similarities with humans than zebrafish,” he said. “Although sharks and bony fishes are not closely related, they are nonetheless both fish … [while] mammals have very different anatomies and physiologies. Nevertheless, our findings open the possibility that some aspects of white shark metabolism, as well as other aspects of its overall biochemistry, might be more similar to that of a mammal than to that of a bony fish.”

The study launched when Stanhope and NSU Professor Mahmood Shivji received a Save Our Seas Foundation grant and a rare gift of a great white shark heart. The heart had been autopsied from an illegally fished shark, confiscated by government authorities and donated to their project.

The researchers sequenced the heart’s transcriptome – the messenger molecules produced from the shark’s genome, including those active in making proteins. Then they categorized the proteins, deduced from the transcriptome, based on their functions and found that the proportions of white shark proteins in many categories matched humans more closely than zebrafish. Of particular interest was that white shark had a closer match to humans for proteins involved in metabolism.

“We think this has to do with a rare trait in fish called regional endothermy,” said Stanhope. “Unlike nearly all fish, including most sharks, the white shark can keep body temperature of some organs warmer than the ambient water. This trait is useful for fast swimming, digestion and providing the animal the capability to exploit a much broader thermal regime.”

By comparing transcriptomes of endothermic sharks to cold-bodied sharks and other fishes, the researchers hope to find which genes bestow this unusual ability, while also planning similar transcriptomic studies to understand other distinctive properties in sharks.

“Sharks have many fascinating characteristics,” said Stanhope. “Some give live birth to fully formed young, while some lay eggs. In some species, the embryos eat the remaining eggs or even other embryos while still developing in the uterus. Some can dive very deep, others cannot. Some stay local; others migrate across the entire ocean basins. White sharks dive deep, migrate very long distances and give live birth. We will use what we’ve learned in this species in a broader comparative study of genes involved in these diverse behaviors.”

Because sharks are apex predators, their decreasing number threatens the stability of marine ecosystems, on which millions of people rely for food. This study also increased the number of genetic markers scientist can use to study the population biology of great white and related sharks, Stanhope said, by a thousandfold, from which they hope to further expand knowledge of these fascinating animals, many of which are in urgent need of conservation.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,900+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Pathogen Takes Control of Gypsy Moth Populations
A new fungal pathogen is killing gypsy moth caterpillars and crowding out communities of pathogens and parasites that previously destroyed these moth pests.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
$4.8M USAID Grant to Improve Food Security
To strengthen capacity to develop and disseminate genetically engineered eggplant in Bangladesh and the Philippines, the USAID has awarded Cornell a $4.8 million, three-year cooperative grant.
Friday, April 01, 2016
$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Pest Attacks Can Lead to Bigger Crop Yields
New project receive three-year funding of $498,000 from USDA.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Algal Genes May Boost Efficiency, Yield in Staple Crops
New research has taken a step toward employing genes from blue-green algae to improve staple crop photosynthesis.
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Study to Focus on Rice Genes, Yield and Climate
Cornell researchers received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study relationships among rice genetics, crop yields and climate.
Thursday, May 01, 2014
New Alfalfa Variety Resists Ravenous Local Pest
The new variety has some resistance against the alfalfa snout beetle which has ravaged alfalfa fields.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Predators Delay Pest Resistance to Bt Crops
Crops genetically modified with the bacterium Bt(Bacillus thuringiensis) produce proteins that kill pest insects.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Surprises Discovered in Decoded Kiwifruit Genome
DNA sequence of the kiwifruit has many genetic similarities between its 39,040 genes and other plant species, including potatoes and tomatoes.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Produce Perfect: Biotech Sweet Corn goes Unblemished
With the kernel-loving earworm, producing unblemished ears of sweet corn is difficult.
Monday, October 14, 2013
New Micro Water Sensor Can Aid Growers
Crop growers, wine grape and other fruit growers, food processors and even concrete makers all benefit from water sensors for accurate, steady and numerous moisture readings.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Partnership Homes in on Regenerative Medicine
Scientists are to advance healing techniques and technologies for animals and humans.
Friday, October 04, 2013
Using Genes to Rescue Animal and Plants from Extinction
With estimates of losing 15 to 40 percent of the world’s species over the next four decades researchers whether science should employ genetic engineering to the rescue.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Senator to Tout Cornell Food Safety, Dairy Expertise to Feds
Cornell University is positioned to be a national center of excellence in dairy and food safety.
Monday, September 09, 2013
Scientific News
JPK NanoWizard® Applied to a Wide Range of Research
The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins.
Protein Boosts Rice Yield by 54%
Over-expression of a natural protein in rice plants led to a 54% increase in crop yield and 40% increase in nitrogen-use efficiency.
Soil Nitrogen Age Important for Precision Agriculture
Calculating the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques.
Genome of 6000-Year-Old Barley Sequenced
Researchers have successfully sequenced the genome of Chalcolithic barley grains for the first time.
Flowers Arrange Themselves for Bees
Study suggests plants can maximise their chances of reproduction by taking advantage of how insects move when they gather nectar.
Improving Wheat Crops in the Field
Agrii, RAGT and the University of Nottingham are developing better disease management and yield production in wheat crops using ASD FieldSpec Handheld 2 portable spectroradiometers.
Unravelling the Roots of Insect’s Waterproof Coating
Researchers have identified the genes that control cuticular lipid production in Drosophila, by performing an RNAi screen and using Direct Analysis in Real Time and GC-MS.
Structural link to Brain Cell Death in Alzheimer's
Study reveals multiple new leads for pursuing potential Alzheimer's treatments
Disentangling the Plant Microbiome
Study says breeding plants, to feed a growing global population, with more beneficial bacteria is far from simple.
Cellular Origin of Skin Cancer Identified
Scientists have identified ‘cell of origin’ in the most common form of skin cancer, and followed the process that leads to tumour growth.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!