Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Sea Lamprey Genome Mapped With Help From Scientists at OU

Beginning in 2004, a group of scientists from around the globe, including two University of Oklahoma faculty members, set out to map the genome of the sea lamprey.
The secrets of how this jawless vertebrate separated from the jawed vertebrates early in the evolutionary process will give insight to the ancestry of vertebrate characters and may help investigators more fully understand neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

David McCauley, associate professor in the Biology Department in the OU College of Arts and Sciences, and Sandra W. Clifton, with the OU Center for Advanced Genome Technology, collaborated with scientists from Japan, Germany, the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

McCauley isolated and prepared the liver tissue from the single adult female sea lamprey, from which genomic DNA was isolated for sequencing. Clifton was involved in management of the sea lamprey sequencing project at the Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis until her retirement in 2010. The project then was taken over by Patrick Minx. Clifton participated in the discussions regarding the paper preparation, and she is a senior author on the paper. Sequencing was performed at the Genome Institute and the project was directed by Weiming Li at Michigan State University with funding provided by the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

“The sea lamprey is a primitive jawless vertebrate that diverged from other jawed vertebrates early in the vertebrate ancestry,” writes McCauley. “Because of its early divergence from other living vertebrates, the sea lamprey genome can provide insights for understanding how vertebrate genomes have evolved, and the origins of vertebrate character traits. Several important findings arise from sequencing the sea lamprey genome: Vertebrates have undergone two ‘whole-genome’ rounds of duplication, resulting in multiple copies of many genes present in vertebrates. One outstanding question has been the timing of these duplications in vertebrate history. Results from this project suggest that two rounds of duplication predated the divergence of the ancestral lamprey from modern jawed vertebrates. This result is important for understanding how vertebrate genomes have evolved, and in particular, for understanding if the organization of the genome is common to all vertebrates.

“Most vertebrates contain an insulating layer of cells that surround nerve cells. Cells that wrap around a nerve fiber, or axon, are enriched in a protein known as myelin. The insulating properties of myelin allow signals to be conducted rapidly along the nerve fiber, and the loss of myelin results in numerous neurodegenerative diseases in humans.”

McCauley adds that lampreys lack these “wrapped” neurons, suggesting the insulated neurons are specific to jawed vertebrates. “Somewhat surprisingly, the sea lamprey genome contains multiple proteins involved in the synthesis of myelin, including its basic protein. This important finding suggests the origin of myelin predated the divergence of lampreys from the lineage leading to jawed vertebrates, but the role of these proteins in lampreys is not known. Other important findings shed light on evolution of the vertebrate adaptive immune system, and the evolution of paired appendages, such as fins in fish and fore-limbs and hind-limbs in tetrapod vertebrates such as humans and animals.”

The findings recently were published in the March issue of Nature Genetics. To read the full article, visit

Angela Startz | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>