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Science & Technology

Scientists sequence the coelacanth genome

By T.K. Randall
April 20, 2013 · Comment icon 15 comments

Image Credit: Todd Huffman
Referred to as a 'living fossil', the coelacanth has barely changed at all in over 300 million years.
Thought to have become extinct during the Cretaceous period, the coelacanth amazed everyone when a live specimen was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938. More amazing still was the fact that despite being around for millions of years the species shows very little in the way of evolutionary change. The term 'living fossil' was coined to describe creatures that fit in to this category.

To learn more about the coelacanth, an international team of scientists has managed to sequence the animal's genome which contains almost three billion DNA bases. "What we can see is that while the genome as a whole changes, the protein-coding genes - that make the living fish - are much more stable and much more unchanging," said Professor Kerstin Lindblad-Toh. "It lives several hundred metres down in the ocean, and it may also be in an environment where it doesn't have a lot of competitors. So maybe it adapted to that environment a long time ago and it doesn't have a huge need for change."[!gad]Thought to have become extinct during the Cretaceous period, the coelacanth amazed everyone when a live specimen was caught off the coast of South Africa in 1938. More amazing still was the fact that despite being around for millions of years the species shows very little in the way of evolutionary change. The term 'living fossil' was coined to describe creatures that fit in to this category.

To learn more about the coelacanth, an international team of scientists has managed to sequence the animal's genome which contains almost three billion DNA bases. "What we can see is that while the genome as a whole changes, the protein-coding genes - that make the living fish - are much more stable and much more unchanging," said Professor Kerstin Lindblad-Toh. "It lives several hundred metres down in the ocean, and it may also be in an environment where it doesn't have a lot of competitors. So maybe it adapted to that environment a long time ago and it doesn't have a huge need for change."
The genetic secrets of a "living fossil" have been revealed by scientists. Researchers sequenced the genome of the coelacanth: a deep-sea fish that closely resembles its ancestors, which lived at least 300 million years ago.


Source: BBC News | Comments (15)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by MissingAChance 11 years ago
Evolution is a joke.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Timonthy 11 years ago
Evolution is a joke. Care to elaborate? Haha was your post meant to be a joke, made me laugh!
Comment icon #8 Posted by shrooma 11 years ago
me too timon! i usually use humour in my posts, but nothing as hilarious as THAT!! MaC, you could get a job writing for billy connolly with jokes of that calibre! a career in hollywood awaits.....
Comment icon #9 Posted by GirlfromOz 11 years ago
This is one of the many examples of the theory of evolution.It doesn't exist as far as I believe.As one of our regular readers suggested before,"If Man was once ape,then why are there still apes & human beings?" That was well said! Oh,and I love Billy Connolly too. lol XOXOXO
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 11 years ago
This is one of the many examples of the theory of evolution.It doesn't exist as far as I believe.As one of our regular readers suggested before,"If Man was once ape,then why are there still apes & human beings?" That was well said! Oh,and I love Billy Connolly too. lol XOXOXO How does this disprove evolution?
Comment icon #11 Posted by Rlyeh 11 years ago
This is one of the many examples of the theory of evolution.It doesn't exist as far as I believe.As one of our regular readers suggested before,"If Man was once ape,then why are there still apes & human beings?" That was well said! Oh,and I love Billy Connolly too. lol XOXOXO Which has been answered many times.
Comment icon #12 Posted by StarMountainKid 11 years ago
This is one of the many examples of the theory of evolution.It doesn't exist as far as I believe.As one of our regular readers suggested before,"If Man was once ape,then why are there still apes & human beings?" That was well said! An elementary explanation.
Comment icon #13 Posted by and then 11 years ago
PLEASE...not another one.BTW I saw a really cool ( for a 10 year old boy) movie once about a Coelacanth. A scientist was studying the thing in a lab and a dragon fly landed on it for a snack - voila'!! A giant dragon fly enters the picture. the 1960's were a cool time to be a kid
Comment icon #14 Posted by YukiEsmaElite0 11 years ago
it would seem no evolution on this fish took place because it had no need to evolve. Does that sound good?
Comment icon #15 Posted by Merc14 11 years ago
it would seem no evolution on this fish took place because it had no need to evolve. Does that sound good? That is what they are theorizing and I am sure there are many more abyss dwellers that have been around in the same form for millions of years.


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