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The great white shark is one of the most recognized marine creatures on Earth, generating widespread public fascination and media attention, including spawning one of the most successful movies in Hollywood history. This shark possesses notable characteristics, including its massive size (up to 20 feet and 7,000 pounds) and diving to nearly 4,000 foot depths. Great whites are also a big conservation concern given their relatively low numbers in the world's oceans.
In a major scientific step to understand the biology of this iconic apex predator and sharks in general, the entire genome of the white shark has now been decoded in detail.
Team - Scientists - Nova - Southeastern - University
A team led by scientists from Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) Save Our Seas Foundation Shark Research Center and Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Monterey Bay Aquarium, completed the white shark genome and compared it to genomes from a variety of other vertebrates, including the giant whale shark and humans.
The findings are reported in the 'Latest Articles' section of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.
Shark - Genome - Times - Size - Genome—but
Decoding the white shark's genome revealed not only its huge size—one-and-a-half times the size of the human genome—but also a plethora of genetic changes that could be behind the evolutionary success of large-bodied and long-lived sharks.
The researchers found striking occurrences of specific DNA sequence changes indicating molecular adaptation (also known as positive selection) in numerous genes with important roles in maintaining genome stability ¬¬- the genetic defense mechanisms that counteract the accumulation of damage to a species' DNA, thereby preserving the integrity of the genome.
Sequence - Changes - Genes - DNA - Repair
These adaptive sequence changes were found in genes intimately tied to DNA repair, DNA damage response, and DNA damage tolerance, among other genes. The opposite phenomenon, genome instability, which results from accumulated DNA damage, is well known to predispose humans to...
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