PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
FREE PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Genome sequencing of the living coelacanth sheds light on the evolution of land vertebrate

An historic fish, with an intriguing past, now has had its genome sequenced, providing a wealth of information on the genetic changes that accompanied the adaptation from an aquatic environment to land

2013-04-18
(Press-News.org) An historic fish, with an intriguing past, now has had its genome sequenced, providing a wealth of information on the genetic changes that accompanied the adaptation from an aquatic environment to land. A team of international researchers led by Chris Amemiya, PhD, Director of Molecular Genetics at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) and Professor of Biology at the University of Washington, will publish "The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution" April 18 as the cover article in Nature. The coelacanth genome was sequenced by the Genome Center at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and analyzed by an international consortium of experts.

Sequencing the coelacanth genome has been a long-sought goal and a major logistical milestone, says Dr. Amemiya. He and scientists throughout the world have campaigned for sequencing of the fish for over a decade. "Analysis of changes in the genome during vertebrate adaptation to land has implicated key genes that may have been involved in evolutionary transitions," he says. These include those regulating immunity, nitrogen excretion and the development of fins, tail, ear, eye, and brain as well as those involved in sensing of odorants. The coelacanth genome will serve as a blueprint for better understanding tetrapod evolution.

"This is just the beginning of many analyses on what the coelacanth can teach us about the emergence of land vertebrates, including humans, and, combined with modern empirical approaches, can lend insights into the mechanisms that have contributed to major evolutionary innovations," says Dr. Amemiya.

The coelacanth is critical to study because it is one of only two living lobe-finned fish groups that represent deep and evolutionarily informative lineages with respect to the land vertebrates. The other is the lungfish, which has an enormous genome that currently makes it impractical to sequence. The lobe-finned fishes are genealogically placed in-between the ray-finned fishes (such as goldfish and guppies) and the tetrapods − the first four-limbed vertebrates and their descendants, including living and extinct amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. A lobe-finned ancestor(s) underwent genomic changes that accompanied the transition of life in an aquatic environment to life on land. The coelacanth is undeniably a fish, however, phylogenetic analyses show that its genes are more like those of tetrapods than of ray-finned fishes. Additionally, coelacanth genes evolve at a considerably slower rate than those of tetrapods, a fact that is coincident with its apparently slow rate of morphological change.

"For evolutionary biologists the coelacanth is an iconic animal, as familiar as Darwin's finches on the Galapagos," says Toby Bradshaw, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Biology, University of Washington. "This paper by Chris and colleagues gives us our first comprehensive look at the coelacanth's place in our evolutionary history, and provides fascinating insights into the specific vertebrate genes involved in the critical transition from water to land − it seems that both loss and gain of gene function were required. I find the proposed gain-of-function changes in gene regulation for limb development particularly compelling, supported by experimental evidence that the lobed fins of the coelacanth really are akin to prototypical legs. Making legs from fins is a wonderful example of Francois Jacob's observation that 'evolution is a tinkerer, not an engineer.'" Adds Gerald Nepom, MD, PhD, Director of the Benaroya Research Institute, "This work represents a major accomplishment by a large and talented group of investigators, opening a new book of knowledge about adaptation that is now available to all scientists who want to better understand our complex genetic origins."

Genome sequencing is a laboratory and computational process that determines the complete DNA sequence of an organism's genome. Deciphering the genetic makeup of the coelacanth provides valuable clues for biologists studying the evolution of vertebrates. It was an international sensation when a living specimen of the coelacanth was first discovered in l938 as this lineage of fish was thought to have gone extinct 70 million years ago. The living coelacanth has many anatomical similarities with its fossil relatives and seems to have undergone seemingly little morphological change since the Devonian period approximately 360 million years ago. It still possesses what many would consider to be a prehistoric appearance, and, as for many similar species that do not show much change over long evolutionary periods, is often dubbed a "living fossil." The relationship of the slow rate of evolution of its genes and its morphological appearance remains unknown and largely speculative. Today, coelacanths are on the endangered species list and biological tissues can only be obtained from expired animals that have been caught accidentally by fishermen.

In addition to this landmark genome paper in Nature, several companion papers are being edited by Drs. Amemiya and Axel Meyer for publication in a special open access coelacanth genome issue of the Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution).

INFORMATION:

About Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason

Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), founded in 1956, is an international leader in immune system and autoimmune disease research, translating discoveries to real life applications. Autoimmune diseases happen when the immune system, designed to protect the body, attacks it instead. BRI is one of the few research institutes in the world dedicated to discovering causes and cures to eliminate autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and many others. Visit BenaroyaResearch.org or Facebook/BenaroyaResearch for more information about BRI, clinical studies and the more than 80 different types of autoimmune diseases.

BRI employs more than 250 scientists, physician researchers and staff with a research volume of nearly $40 million in 2012, including grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense and JDRF.

END



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Bear baiting may put hunting dogs at risk from wolves

2013-04-18
Bear hunters will tell you that a good way to attract a bear is to put out bait. And in 10 states, including Michigan and Wisconsin, that's perfectly legal. Hunting dogs are another useful technique in the bear-hunter's toolkit, and 17 states say that's just fine. But who else likes bear bait? Gray wolves, that's who. And wolves that are feeling territorial about a bear bait stash can—and sometimes do—kill hunting dogs released at the bait site. Like most interactions between wildlife and human beings, wolf attacks on hunting dogs illustrate a tangled trade-off: ...

Scientists produce best image yet of atoms moving in real time

2013-04-18
VIDEO: Mapping molecular motions -- the "magic " of chemistry revealed. Despite the enormous number of possible arrangements of atoms during a structural transition, such as occurs with changes in charge distribution... Click here for more information. TORONTO, ON – Call it the ultimate nature documentary. Scientists at the University of Toronto have recorded atomic motions in real time, offering a glimpse into the very essence of chemistry and biology at the ...

Discovery may help prevent HIV 'reservoirs' from forming

2013-04-18
April 17, 2013 — (BRONX, NY) — Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered how the protein that blocks HIV-1 from multiplying in white blood cells is regulated. HIV-1 is the virus that causes AIDS, and the discovery could lead to novel approaches for addressing HIV-1 "in hiding" – namely eliminating reservoirs of HIV-1 that persist in patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy. The study was published today in the online edition of the journal Cell Host & Microbe. Antiretroviral therapy can reduce blood levels of HIV-1 until ...

Blood pressure out of control at safety-net clinics

2013-04-18
Federally funded safety-net clinics for the uninsured lag behind other health care providers in controlling blood pressure among the low-income patients who rely on them for care, a new Michigan State University analysis suggests. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular complications including heart disease and stroke, and is especially common and dangerous for patients with diabetes, said lead researcher Adesuwa Olomu, associate professor in the MSU Department of Medicine. In recent decades, a growing share of the 67 million ...

IDRI and Medicago report positive results for Phase I clinical trial for an H5N1 vaccine

2013-04-18
SEATTLE, WA, and QUEBEC CITY, QC, April 17, 2013 – IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute), a Seattle-based non-profit research organization that is a leading developer of adjuvants used in vaccines combating infectious disease, and Medicago Inc. (TSX: MDG; OTCQX: MDCGF), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing highly effective and competitive vaccines based on proprietary manufacturing technologies and Virus-Like Particles (VLPs), today reported positive interim results from a Phase I clinical trial for an H5N1 Avian Influenza VLP vaccine candidate ("H5N1 ...

Anti-sickling therapies should be focus for sickle cell science

2013-04-18
AUGUSTA, Ga. – Pain is an undeniable focal point for patients with sickle cell disease but it's not the best focus for drug development, says one of the dying breed of physicians specializing in the condition. Rather scientists need to get back to the crux of the disease affecting 1 in 500 black Americans and find better ways to prevent the hallmark sickling that impedes red blood cells' oxygen delivery, damaging blood vessel walls and organs along the way, said Dr. Abdullah Kutlar, Director of the Sickle Cell Center at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents ...

Astronomers discover massive star factory in early universe

2013-04-18
Smaller begets bigger. Such is often the case for galaxies, at least: the first galaxies were small, then eventually merged together to form the behemoths we see in the present universe. Those smaller galaxies produced stars at a modest rate; only later—when the universe was a couple of billion years old—did the vast majority of larger galaxies begin to form and accumulate enough gas and dust to become prolific star factories. Indeed, astronomers have observed that these star factories—called starburst galaxies—became prevalent a couple of billion years after the Big ...

The doctor won't see you now? Study: US facing a neurologist shortage

2013-04-18
MINNEAPOLIS – Americans with brain diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis (MS) who need to see a neurologist may face longer wait times or have more difficulty finding a neurologist, according to a new study published in the April 17, 2013, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The findings are being released as nearly 150 neurologists will descend on Capitol Hill next Tuesday, April 23, 2013, to encourage Congress to protect patients' access to neurologists and ensure there will be ...

Teens' brains are more sensitive to rewarding feedback from peers

2013-04-18
Teenagers are risk-takers — they're more likely than children or adults to experiment with illicit substances, have unprotected sex, and drive recklessly. But research shows that teenagers have the knowledge and ability to make competent decisions about risk, just like adults. So what explains their risky behavior? In a new report, psychological scientists Laurence Steinberg and Jason Chein of Temple University and Dustin Albert of Duke University argue that some teens' risky behavior reflects the unique effect of peer influence on the still-developing teenage brain. Their ...

Hop, skip or jump? Study says no to all of the above

2013-04-18
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Osteoarthritis, which affects at least 20 percent of adults in the United States, leads to deterioration of cartilage, the rubbery tissue that prevents bones from rubbing together. By studying the molecular properties of cartilage, MIT engineers have now discovered how the earliest stages of arthritis make the tissue more susceptible to damage from physical activities such as running or jumping. The findings could help researchers develop tests to diagnose arthritis earlier in patients at high risk for the disease and also guide engineers in designing ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[Press-News.org] Genome sequencing of the living coelacanth sheds light on the evolution of land vertebrate
An historic fish, with an intriguing past, now has had its genome sequenced, providing a wealth of information on the genetic changes that accompanied the adaptation from an aquatic environment to land