Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

A*STAR Scientists Decipher Genome Code of a Living Fossil

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, April 18, 2013
Bookmark and Share
An international team of researchers join forces to decode the genome of the once-thought-to-be-extinct African coelacanth.

An enigmatic prehistoric fish has brought scientists at A*STAR's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) together with researchers from all over the world to crack its genomic code. Findings from the study are providing new insights into the evolutionary history of the African coelacanth (Figure 1)(1) and possible clues as to how aquatic creatures transitioned to life on land.

Coelacanths resemble the fossilised skeletons of their ancestors from more than 300-million years ago (Figure 2). By sequencing its genome and comparing it to genes of other vertebrate species, the researchers have uncovered valuable information on genetic changes that may have helped aquatic animals to transition from water to land, and adapt to life on land. Their findings include many genes and regulatory elements that were gained and genes that were lost when vertebrates came on land. The research findings were published in the 18 April online issue of the prestigious journal, Nature.

The most interesting feature of the coelacanth is its fleshy fins, which resemble the limbs of land animals (Figure 3). The team has found several important regions of the genome used in the formation of limbs, which suggest that land animals (tetrapods) adopted these sequences from coelacanths to help them form limbs. The researchers also found that there are many regulatory changes that influence genes involved in the perception of smell, as creatures that transitioned to land needed new means of detecting chemicals in their environment.

While sequencing the genome of the coelacanth provides some answers, more information on how some vertebrates adapted to land while others remained in the water can be discerned from future research of coelacanth's physiological systems such as the immune system, respiratory system, and reproductive system.

Prof. Byrappa Venkatesh, Research Director IMCB, whose group was involved in the project said, "The coelacanth with its distinctive fleshy fins represents an intermediary phase in the evolution of land animals from aquatic fishes. By comparing the genomes of coelacanth, human and other vertebrates our group has been able to discover gene regulatory elements that played a key role in the development of our limbs and fingers as well as our ability to detect air-borne odorants. Mutations in these elements can potentially lead to genetic diseases."

Prof Hong Wan Jin, Executive Director IMCB, said, "This is the same IMCB group that sequenced the puffer fish genome in 2002 soon after the completion of the human genome and they are truly a pioneer in the field of comparative genomics. I am pleased to note that they are now part of yet another major international collaboration in genomics and are continuing to make significant contributions to our understanding of the structure, function and evolution of the human genome."


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

Zebrafish Genes Linked To Human Respiratory Diseases
Genes have been discovered which may be synonymous with the genes for developing hair-like structures in the human airway.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Scientific News
Breakthrough Flu Vaccine Inhibited by Pre-existing Antibodies
Universal truths – how existing antibodies are sabotaging the most promising new human flu vaccines.
Researchers Develop Software That Could Facilitate Drug Development
AptaTRACE can identify aptamers, potentially speed drug advancement.
Gene Therapy for Metabolic Liver Diseases
Researchers have tested gene therapy in pigs from hereditary tyrosinemia type 1, with corrected liver cells being transplanted into the diseased liver.
Zika Vaccine Candidates Show Promise
Two experimental vaccines have shown promise against a major viral strain responsible for the Brazilian Zika outbreak.
New Medication Shows Promise Against Liver Fibrosis in Animal Studies
Liver fibrosis is a gradual scarring of the liver that puts people at risk for progressive liver disease and liver failure.
Raw Eggs Deemed Safe to Eat
A report published today by the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food (ACMSF) into egg safety has shown a major reduction in the risk from salmonella in UK eggs.
Monitoring TTX Toxin in Shellfish
In a number of small studies, mussels and oysters from the eastern and northern part of the Oosterschelde in Holland were found to contain tetrodotoxin (TTX).
Gene Terapy for Muscle Wasting Developed
New gene therapy could save millions of people suffering from muscle wasting disease.
NIH Begins Yellow Fever Vaccine Trial
NIH has initiated an early-stage clinical trial of a vaccine to protect against yellow fever.
Gene-Editing 'Toolbox' Targets Multiple Genes Simultaneously
Researchers have designed a system that modifies, or edits, multiple genes in a genome at once while minimising unintentional effects.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
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!