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Living fossil roams the seas


Genomics is being used for the first time to investigate the mystery of the ‘living fossil’ fish coelacanth, first dragged up along the coast of South Africa in 1938, having been considered extinct for 65 million years. Because of its close resemblance to land animals, it has attracted attention to the subject of a ‘missing link’ between tetrapods and humans. Dr. Chris Amemiya will be presenting his work on the generation and utilization of genomic resources for the Indonesian coelacanth on Wednesday 13th July at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Main Meeting in Barcelona [session A5].

Latimera - How different are the coelacanth’s genes from those of other fishes and tetrapods? And can the species be useful as a tool for vertebrate comparative genomics?”

These genomic resources make it possible to investigate extended gene regions in order to analyse evolutionary relationships with other animals. Genes of particular interest have been those involved in embryonic development and immunity. “There are two questions we are trying to answer”, explains Amemiya. “How different are the coelacanth’s genes from those of other fishes and tetrapods? And can the species be useful as a tool for vertebrate comparative genomics?”

Diana van Gent | alfa
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