Monday, March 10, 2014

Coelacanth Genome

Coelacanths are currently comprised of two living species, the West Indian Ocean coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) and the Indonesian coelacanth (L. menadoensis), but are present in the fossil record from about 390 to 70 million years ago when they were thought to have gone extinct. The West Indian Ocean coelacanth was rediscovered in 1938, followed but the Indonesian coelacanth in 1999. The Indonesian coelacanth is threatened, but the West Indian coelacanth is critically endangered with a population estimate of fewer than 500. The modern coelacanth's appearance has remained largely unchanged when compared to its fossilized ancestors and it was found in a recent article published in Nature that L. chalumnae also have a lower protein evolution rate, but a relatively high abundance and activity of transposable elements. In the article "The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution" other genomic insights and implications are discussed, including genetic differences between terrestrial animals, bony fishes, and coelacanths.

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