This is the blog for GW students taking Human Evolutionary Genetics. This site is for posting interesting tidbits on: the patterns and processes of human genetic variation;human origins and migration; molecular adaptations to environment, lifestyle and disease; ancient and forensic DNA analyses; and genealogical reconstructions.

GWHEG figure

GWHEG figure

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Genome sequencing of primitive worms

This week, Nature published an article that details the genome sequencing of two genera of the marine invertebrate enteropneust, also called acorn worms. The research group that studied this animal were interested in their capacity to prevent water from entering their digestive tract while they breathe, through features called pharyngeal gill silts. The Japanese team behind the research found four highly conserved transcription factor genes that seem linked to pharyngeal gill silts. This study is important because it is rare that the genome of non-vertebrates and non-arthropods (insects, arachnids  etc) are sequenced, and thus this research provides depth in the understanding of the evolution of chordates. 

Acorn worms vary form a few millimeters to a few meters!

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