Elephants Have 2000 Genes for Smell - Most Ever Found
We’ve long known that African elephants have a great sense of smell—but a new study shows that the large mammals have truly superior schnozzes.
by Christine Dell’Amore
Compared with 13 other mammal species studied, African elephants have the most genes related to smell: 2,000.
That’s the most ever discovered in an animal—more than twice the number of olfactory genes in domestic dogs and five times more than in humans, who have about 400, according to research published July 22 in the journal Genome Research. The previous record-holder was rats, which have about 1,200 genes dedicated to smell.
Why so many? “We don’t know the real reason,” study leader Yoshihito Niimura, a molecular evolutionist at the University of Tokyo, said by email. But it’s likely related to the importance of smell to the poorly sighted African elephant in interpreting and navigating its environment…
(read more: National Geographic)
photograph by João Nuno Gonçalves

Elephants Have 2000 Genes for Smell - Most Ever Found

We’ve long known that African elephants have a great sense of smell—but a new study shows that the large mammals have truly superior schnozzes.

by Christine Dell’Amore

Compared with 13 other mammal species studied, African elephants have the most genes related to smell: 2,000.

That’s the most ever discovered in an animal—more than twice the number of olfactory genes in domestic dogs and five times more than in humans, who have about 400, according to research published July 22 in the journal Genome ResearchThe previous record-holder was rats, which have about 1,200 genes dedicated to smell.

Why so many? “We don’t know the real reason,” study leader Yoshihito Niimura, a molecular evolutionist at the University of Tokyo, said by email. But it’s likely related to the importance of smell to the poorly sighted African elephant in interpreting and navigating its environment…

(read more: National Geographic)

photograph by João Nuno Gonçalves

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libutron:

The feared and fascinating Jack Jumper Ant - the metazoan with the lowest possible number of chromosomes
The Australian Jack Jumper Ant, Myrmecia pilosula (Formicidae), with its 12 mm length, large eyes, and long mandibles with teeth, is an aggressive ant with a very potent sting. 
The sting is not severe (in terms of pain), but this ant is responsible for greater than 90% of Australian ant venom allergy. In Tasmania stings by M. pilosula (and possible the Inchman ant, M. forficate) caused 21–-25% of the 324 cases of anaphylaxis treated with adrenaline in the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department between 1990 and 1998, compared with 13% caused by honeybee stings.
Moreover, what I personally find fascinating is the fact that ants of the Myrmecia pilosula species complex include some individuals with the lowest possible metazoan chromosome number of 2n = 2, although others in this cluster of sibling species have much higher numbers, the known maximum being 2n = 32.
If we also consider that males are haploid (they have a single set of chromosomes in the nucleus of their cells), as in other Hymenoptera, the somatic cells of males contain only a single chromosome.
Other common names: Jumper Ant, Hopper Ant, Jumping Jack, Bull Ant.
References: [1] - [2] - [3]
Photo: ©Arthur Chapman
Locality: Falcons Lookout Track, Werribee Gorge State Park, near Ballan, Victoria, Australia 

libutron:

The feared and fascinating Jack Jumper Ant - the metazoan with the lowest possible number of chromosomes

The Australian Jack Jumper Ant, Myrmecia pilosula (Formicidae), with its 12 mm length, large eyes, and long mandibles with teeth, is an aggressive ant with a very potent sting. 

The sting is not severe (in terms of pain), but this ant is responsible for greater than 90% of Australian ant venom allergy. In Tasmania stings by M. pilosula (and possible the Inchman ant, M. forficate) caused 21–-25% of the 324 cases of anaphylaxis treated with adrenaline in the Royal Hobart Hospital Emergency Department between 1990 and 1998, compared with 13% caused by honeybee stings.

Moreover, what I personally find fascinating is the fact that ants of the Myrmecia pilosula species complex include some individuals with the lowest possible metazoan chromosome number of 2n = 2, although others in this cluster of sibling species have much higher numbers, the known maximum being 2n = 32.

If we also consider that males are haploid (they have a single set of chromosomes in the nucleus of their cells), as in other Hymenoptera, the somatic cells of males contain only a single chromosome.

Other common names: Jumper Ant, Hopper Ant, Jumping Jack, Bull Ant.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo: ©Arthur Chapman

Locality: Falcons Lookout Track, Werribee Gorge State Park, near Ballan, Victoria, Australia 

Longevity Diet: 
Researchers unmask a gene that protects C. elegans from lifespan-shrinking metabolic byproducts.
by Rina Shaikh-Lesko
vidence that diet can profoundly affect aging is beginning to emerge, sometimes through targeted studies and other times by accident. While breeding mutant C. elegans worms for an unrelated experiment, Sean Curran and Shanshan Pang, a pair of researchers who study aging at the University of Southern California, noticed that certain mutant worms had considerably shorter life spans depending on their diet. The findings led the two to uncover a compensatory molecular mechanism for dealing with different menu items…
(read more: The Scientist)

Longevity Diet: 

Researchers unmask a gene that protects C. elegans from lifespan-shrinking metabolic byproducts.

by Rina Shaikh-Lesko

vidence that diet can profoundly affect aging is beginning to emerge, sometimes through targeted studies and other times by accident. While breeding mutant C. elegans worms for an unrelated experiment, Sean Curran and Shanshan Pang, a pair of researchers who study aging at the University of Southern California, noticed that certain mutant worms had considerably shorter life spans depending on their diet. The findings led the two to uncover a compensatory molecular mechanism for dealing with different menu items…

(read more: The Scientist)

SCIENCE:  A tale of two crows Despite frequently exchanging their genes in two distinct zones in Europe where their ranges overlap, the all-black carrion crow and the gray-coated hooded crow maintain very different plumages. 
Now, a new study suggests that the genetic differences keeping these two species separate are limited to less than one percent of the birds’ genomes. 
To explore what keeps the two phenotypically distinct, Jelmer Poelstra and colleagues compared the genomes of 60 crows — some Corvus corone and others Corvus cornix — from their so-called hybrid (or overlapping range) zones in Europe and found that varied expression of just a few genes (less than 0.28 percent of the entire genome) was enough to maintain different coloration between the two species…
read the paper here:  http://bit.ly/1soUVBS 
Image: Wikicommons

SCIENCE:  A tale of two crows

Despite frequently exchanging their genes in two distinct zones in Europe where their ranges overlap, the all-black carrion crow and the gray-coated hooded crow maintain very different plumages.

Now, a new study suggests that the genetic differences keeping these two species separate are limited to less than one percent of the birds’ genomes.

To explore what keeps the two phenotypically distinct, Jelmer Poelstra and colleagues compared the genomes of 60 crows — some Corvus corone and others Corvus cornix — from their so-called hybrid (or overlapping range) zones in Europe and found that varied expression of just a few genes (less than 0.28 percent of the entire genome) was enough to maintain different coloration between the two species…

read the paper here:  http://bit.ly/1soUVBS

Image: Wikicommons

Redwood National and State Parks - CA, USA
One fascinating habit of coast redwoods is the fact that they can clone themselves! 
Burls are masses or bumps of dormant sprout tissue that wait until the right moment to sprout. Usually, those right moments occur after the tree is damaged. Trees that come from burl sprouts have an advantage in that they use the parent tree’s root system, allowing them to grow higher faster than if they were to start from seed. Unlike their seed-started counterparts, the trees that grew from burls are the exact copy of their parent tree—right down to the DNA!

One fascinating habit of coast redwoods is the fact that they can clone themselves!

Burls are masses or bumps of dormant sprout tissue that wait until the right moment to sprout. Usually, those right moments occur after the tree is damaged. Trees that come from burl sprouts have an advantage in that they use the parent tree’s root system, allowing them to grow higher faster than if they were to start from seed. Unlike their seed-started counterparts, the trees that grew from burls are the exact copy of their parent tree—right down to the DNA!

Geneticist George Church tinkers with DNA to fight disease, create new biofuels, and perhaps even resurrect extinct species.

In the future, George Church believes, almost everything will be better because of genetics. If you have a medical problem, your doctor will be able to customize a treatment based on your specific DNA pattern.

When you fill up your car, you won’t be draining the world’s dwindling supply of crude oil, because the fuel will come from microbes that have been genetically altered to produce biofuel.

When you visit the zoo, you’ll be able to take your children to the woolly mammoth or passenger pigeon exhibits, because these animals will no longer be extinct. You’ll be able to do these things, that is, if the future turns out the way Church envisions it—and he’s doing everything he can to see that it does…

Resurrection: The American Chestnut Is Set for a Genetically Modified Revival
by Andy Coghlan
The near-extinct American chestnut looks set to make a comeback. Genetically modified trees, which are resistant to a deadly fungus that has decimated the species, have produced the first resistant chestnuts. From these seeds, countless resistant trees could be grown in the wild.

An estimated 4 billion American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) once covered the US, accounting for a quarter of all US hardwood trees. But in around 1900, a lethal fungus called Cryphonectria parasitica was accidentally imported in chestnut trees from Asia, and by the 1950s it had almost completely wiped out the American chestnut.

Over the past 20 years, the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project has been trying to turn the situation around. Led by William Powell and Charles Maynard of the State University of New York in Syracuse, the team has used genetic engineering to create a strain of fungus-resistant chestnuts called Darling4.
The modified trees contain a gene from wheat called OxO, which makes an enzyme called oxalate oxidase that destroys the toxic oxalic acid made by the fungus, preventing cankers from forming on the tree. By-products from the enzyme’s action help the tree’s own natural defences to fight off the fungus…
(read more: New Scientist)
photograph by Klaus Lang/Corbis

Resurrection: The American Chestnut Is Set for a Genetically Modified Revival

by Andy Coghlan

The near-extinct American chestnut looks set to make a comeback. Genetically modified trees, which are resistant to a deadly fungus that has decimated the species, have produced the first resistant chestnuts. From these seeds, countless resistant trees could be grown in the wild.

An estimated 4 billion American chestnut trees (Castanea dentata) once covered the US, accounting for a quarter of all US hardwood trees. But in around 1900, a lethal fungus called Cryphonectria parasitica was accidentally imported in chestnut trees from Asia, and by the 1950s it had almost completely wiped out the American chestnut.

Over the past 20 years, the American Chestnut Research and Restoration Project has been trying to turn the situation around. Led by William Powell and Charles Maynard of the State University of New York in Syracuse, the team has used genetic engineering to create a strain of fungus-resistant chestnuts called Darling4.

The modified trees contain a gene from wheat called OxO, which makes an enzyme called oxalate oxidase that destroys the toxic oxalic acid made by the fungus, preventing cankers from forming on the tree. By-products from the enzyme’s action help the tree’s own natural defences to fight off the fungus…

(read more: New Scientist)

photograph by Klaus Lang/Corbis

Why Fly? Flightless Bird Mystery Solved, Say Evolutionary Scientists
Ostriches, emus, moas, and other flightless birds of the world evolved flightlessness separately.
by Allison Fromme
Large flightless birds are scattered across all but one of the world’s southern continents. Since Darwin’s era, people have wondered: How are they related?
Ostriches, emus, cassowaries, rheas, and kiwis can’t fly. Unlike most birds, their flat breastbones lack the keel that anchors the strong pectoral muscles required for flight. Their puny wings can’t possibly lift their heavy bodies off the ground. These flightless birds, called ratites, are clearly different from other avian species.
Darwin noticed, and he predicted that ratites were related to each other. His contemporary, Thomas Huxley, found another commonality among them: The arrangement of bones in the roofs of their mouths appeared more reptile-like than that of other birds.
At about the same time, another biologist, Richard Owen, assembled the remains of a giant ostrich-like fossil skeleton, the first extinct moa known to the western world. But a pesky detail puzzled Huxley: Small, ground-dwelling South American tinamous didn’t seem to fit neatly with the ratites or other birds…
(read more: National Geo)
photo: Christian Ziegler, National Geo

Why Fly? Flightless Bird Mystery Solved, Say Evolutionary Scientists

Ostriches, emus, moas, and other flightless birds of the world evolved flightlessness separately.

by Allison Fromme

Large flightless birds are scattered across all but one of the world’s southern continents. Since Darwin’s era, people have wondered: How are they related?

Ostriches, emus, cassowaries, rheas, and kiwis can’t fly. Unlike most birds, their flat breastbones lack the keel that anchors the strong pectoral muscles required for flight. Their puny wings can’t possibly lift their heavy bodies off the ground. These flightless birds, called ratites, are clearly different from other avian species.

Darwin noticed, and he predicted that ratites were related to each other. His contemporary, Thomas Huxley, found another commonality among them: The arrangement of bones in the roofs of their mouths appeared more reptile-like than that of other birds.

At about the same time, another biologist, Richard Owen, assembled the remains of a giant ostrich-like fossil skeleton, the first extinct moa known to the western world. But a pesky detail puzzled Huxley: Small, ground-dwelling South American tinamous didn’t seem to fit neatly with the ratites or other birds…

(read more: National Geo)

photo: Christian Ziegler, National Geo

Scientists uncover new marine mammal genus, represented by single endangered species 
by Jeremy Hance
This is the story of three seals: the Caribbean, the Hawaiian, and the Mediterranean monk seals. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the Caribbean monk seal was a hugely abundant marine mammal found across the Caribbean, and even recorded by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage, whose men killed several for food. Less than 500 years later the species would be extinct—due to overhunting. But scientists have long wondered how the extinct Caribbean monk seal was related to other monk seals: was it more closely related to the Mediterranean species or the Hawaiian one? Now, researchers have an answer and a new seal genus, as well. 
"Our paper is the first to firmly solve this riddle, both by producing and analyzing the first DNA evidence from the Caribbean monk seal, and by examining the anatomy of large series of monk seal specimens in museums, mostly from the Smithsonian," co-author and mammalogist Kristofer Helgen with the Smithsonian Institute told mongabay.com. "The answer is that the Caribbean monk seal is most closely related to the Hawaiian monk seal, demonstrating that the New World monk seals form a group to the exclusion of the Mediterranean monk seal." 
In fact, the New World monk seals are so genetically distinct—and physically different—from the Mediterranean monk seal that the researchers have proposed a new genus for the Caribbean and Hawaiian species: Neomonachus. Prior to this all three species were listed under one genus, Monachus…
(read more: MongaBay)
illustration of Caribbean Monk Seal by Peter Shouten

Scientists uncover new marine mammal genus, represented by single endangered species

by Jeremy Hance

This is the story of three seals: the Caribbean, the Hawaiian, and the Mediterranean monk seals. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, the Caribbean monk seal was a hugely abundant marine mammal found across the Caribbean, and even recorded by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage, whose men killed several for food. Less than 500 years later the species would be extinct—due to overhunting. But scientists have long wondered how the extinct Caribbean monk seal was related to other monk seals: was it more closely related to the Mediterranean species or the Hawaiian one? Now, researchers have an answer and a new seal genus, as well. 

"Our paper is the first to firmly solve this riddle, both by producing and analyzing the first DNA evidence from the Caribbean monk seal, and by examining the anatomy of large series of monk seal specimens in museums, mostly from the Smithsonian," co-author and mammalogist Kristofer Helgen with the Smithsonian Institute told mongabay.com. "The answer is that the Caribbean monk seal is most closely related to the Hawaiian monk seal, demonstrating that the New World monk seals form a group to the exclusion of the Mediterranean monk seal." 

In fact, the New World monk seals are so genetically distinct—and physically different—from the Mediterranean monk seal that the researchers have proposed a new genus for the Caribbean and Hawaiian species: Neomonachus. Prior to this all three species were listed under one genus, Monachus…

(read more: MongaBay)

illustration of Caribbean Monk Seal by Peter Shouten

Researchers Use DNA to Learn about Tapir Behavior
by Jeremy Hance
apirs are notoriously hard to find and directly observe in the wild. Because of this, little is known about how species behave in their natural habitats. But in a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers found a way around this complication by using tapir DNA to shed light on their behavior.
The team sequenced and compared the DNA of individual tapirs to determine how related they were to one another, and in so doing, determine how far they dispersed throughout their habitat. This study marked the first time this specific technique had been used in the Amazon region…
(read more: MongaBay)
photograph by Jeremy Hance

Researchers Use DNA to Learn about Tapir Behavior

by Jeremy Hance

apirs are notoriously hard to find and directly observe in the wild. Because of this, little is known about how species behave in their natural habitats. But in a study published in PLOS ONE, researchers found a way around this complication by using tapir DNA to shed light on their behavior.

The team sequenced and compared the DNA of individual tapirs to determine how related they were to one another, and in so doing, determine how far they dispersed throughout their habitat. This study marked the first time this specific technique had been used in the Amazon region…

(read more: MongaBay)

photograph by Jeremy Hance

Dingoes Aren’t Just Wild Dogs
Rather than being the descendants of feral mutts, dingoes are actually in their own unique taxonomical corner
by Rachel Nuwer
Dingoes might look like your run-of-the-mill mongrel pooch, and for years, researchers assumed the dingo’s ancestors were domesticated dogs from East Asia that subsequently went wild. But it turns out that dingoes are more unique than that. They are not only a distinct species, but also a distinct group of predators, separate from dogs and wolves, The Scientist reports.
Dingoes arrived in Australia several thousands years ago, and they were first mentioned as a species in 1793. At that time, they were called Canis dingo. However, their official name was soon changed to Canis lupus dingo, on the assumption that dingoes were, in fact, a subspecies of wolf and within the same evolutionary clade as domestic dogs.
In a new study, researchers challenged that assumption. They examined 69 dingo skulls that dated back to 1900 or earlier—presumably before dingoes would have encountered and interbred with domesticated dogs, which only arrived in Australia when Europeans did. Dingoes, the researchers found, have anatomical features that set them apart from dogs and wolves, including a wider head and longer snout, The Scientist writes. The team also found that dingoes don’t necessarily have to be tan-colored; they can be black, white or dark brown, too…
(read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dingoes-arent-just-wild-dogs-180950384/?utm_source=facebook.com&no-ist)
photo: PartnerHund

Dingoes Aren’t Just Wild Dogs

Rather than being the descendants of feral mutts, dingoes are actually in their own unique taxonomical corner

by Rachel Nuwer

Dingoes might look like your run-of-the-mill mongrel pooch, and for years, researchers assumed the dingo’s ancestors were domesticated dogs from East Asia that subsequently went wild. But it turns out that dingoes are more unique than that. They are not only a distinct species, but also a distinct group of predators, separate from dogs and wolves, The Scientist reports.

Dingoes arrived in Australia several thousands years ago, and they were first mentioned as a species in 1793. At that time, they were called Canis dingo. However, their official name was soon changed to Canis lupus dingo, on the assumption that dingoes were, in fact, a subspecies of wolf and within the same evolutionary clade as domestic dogs.

In a new study, researchers challenged that assumption. They examined 69 dingo skulls that dated back to 1900 or earlier—presumably before dingoes would have encountered and interbred with domesticated dogs, which only arrived in Australia when Europeans did. Dingoes, the researchers found, have anatomical features that set them apart from dogs and wolves, including a wider head and longer snout, The Scientist writes. The team also found that dingoes don’t necessarily have to be tan-colored; they can be black, white or dark brown, too…

(read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/dingoes-arent-just-wild-dogs-180950384/?utm_source=facebook.com&no-ist)

photo: PartnerHund

A scientist’s procedures have shaken up the field of genetics, bringing promise to would-be parents while drawing the ire of bioethicists and the scrutiny of regulators.

With a name that most Americans can’t pronounce (it is Shoe-KHRAHT Mee-tuhl-EE-pov) and an accent that sounds like the villain’s in a James Bond film, Dr. Mitalipov, 52, has shaken the field of genetics by perfecting a version of the world’s tiniest surgery: removing the nucleus from a human egg and placing it into another. In doing so, this Soviet-born scientist has drawn the ire of bioethicists and the scrutiny of federal regulators.

The procedure is intended to help women conceive children without passing on genetic defects in their cellular mitochondria. Such mutations are rare, but they can cause severe problems, including neurological damage, heart failure and blindness. About one in 4,000 babies in the United States is born with an inherited mitochondrial disease; there is no treatment, and few live into adulthood…

Hybrid Dolphin Gives Scientists Rare Window into Evolution
by Zoë Shribman
You’ve seen DNA analysis on every forensic criminology show on TV. Normally, it leads detectives to the killer, but in another case—this one on the open ocean—it has led scientists to a hybrid dolphin.
The clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) is something of a biological riddle. Though these animals were first declared their own species by the American Society of Mammalogists in 1981, they were originally thought to be a subspecies of the spinner dolphin (S. longirostris), despite their similarities to the striped dolphin (S. coeruleoalba). DNA analysis has solved the puzzle, conclusively stating that clymene dolphins are a distinct species.
In her study, Ana Amaral at the University of Lisbon collected both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from 72 individuals of the three similar dolphin species. Mitochondrial DNA is passed on through the organism’s mother, whereas nuclear DNA comes from both parents. Here, analyzing both was key. In her analysis, Amaral found that the DNA from the nucleus was most similar to the spinner dolphin, while DNA from the mitochondria was most similar to the striped dolphin…
(read more: PBS - NovaNext)                        (photo: NOAA)

Hybrid Dolphin Gives Scientists Rare Window into Evolution

by Zoë Shribman

You’ve seen DNA analysis on every forensic criminology show on TV. Normally, it leads detectives to the killer, but in another case—this one on the open ocean—it has led scientists to a hybrid dolphin.

The clymene dolphin (Stenella clymene) is something of a biological riddle. Though these animals were first declared their own species by the American Society of Mammalogists in 1981, they were originally thought to be a subspecies of the spinner dolphin (S. longirostris), despite their similarities to the striped dolphin (S. coeruleoalba). DNA analysis has solved the puzzle, conclusively stating that clymene dolphins are a distinct species.

In her study, Ana Amaral at the University of Lisbon collected both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA from 72 individuals of the three similar dolphin species. Mitochondrial DNA is passed on through the organism’s mother, whereas nuclear DNA comes from both parents. Here, analyzing both was key. In her analysis, Amaral found that the DNA from the nucleus was most similar to the spinner dolphin, while DNA from the mitochondria was most similar to the striped dolphin…

(read more: PBS - NovaNext)                        (photo: NOAA)

Zoologger: Superfemale mice have secret male DNA
by Collin Barras
Species: Mus minutoidesHabitat: widely spread across sub-Saharan Africa, especially in grasslands and savannahs
Never write off a rank outsider. A female mammal that carries a “male” chromosome should struggle to reproduce, but not if that animal is an African pygmy mouse. For females of this species, a male chromosome spells reproductive supremacy.
Even by mouse standards, the African pygmy mouse is tiny. It weighs just 5 grams, and is little more than 11 centimetres long, making it one of the smallest mammals. It can reportedly quench its thirst just by licking the morning dew off pebbles that it stacks in front of its burrow. It is a popular pet, although its body is so fragile that owners should not pick it up.
The mouse’s most remarkable feature is hidden within its cells. In the 1960s, geneticists found three sex chromosomes floating in its gene pool, rather than the two most mammals carry. As well as the normal X and Y sex chromosomes, there is a modified X called X* (Experientia, doi.org/bvsx8x)…
(read more: New Scientist)
photo: AlexXXx/Wiki

Zoologger: Superfemale mice have secret male DNA

by Collin Barras

Species: Mus minutoides
Habitat: widely spread across sub-Saharan Africa, especially in grasslands and savannahs

Never write off a rank outsider. A female mammal that carries a “male” chromosome should struggle to reproduce, but not if that animal is an African pygmy mouse. For females of this species, a male chromosome spells reproductive supremacy.

Even by mouse standards, the African pygmy mouse is tiny. It weighs just 5 grams, and is little more than 11 centimetres long, making it one of the smallest mammals. It can reportedly quench its thirst just by licking the morning dew off pebbles that it stacks in front of its burrow. It is a popular pet, although its body is so fragile that owners should not pick it up.

The mouse’s most remarkable feature is hidden within its cells. In the 1960s, geneticists found three sex chromosomes floating in its gene pool, rather than the two most mammals carry. As well as the normal X and Y sex chromosomes, there is a modified X called X* (Experientia, doi.org/bvsx8x)…

(read more: New Scientist)

photo: AlexXXx/Wiki

Comb jellies were included in Science News’ list of top genomes of 2013. Last year, MBARI Scientist Steven Haddock was an author on a paper that highlighted these fascinating and wondrous creatures. 
Read more about this research here: MBARI Image: After sequencing the genome of Mnemiopsis leidyi, researchers in this study compared its genomic data to other ctenophore species including this comb jelly, Bathyctena chuni.
(via: MBARI)

Comb jellies were included in Science News’ list of top genomes of 2013. Last year, MBARI Scientist Steven Haddock was an author on a paper that highlighted these fascinating and wondrous creatures.

Read more about this research here: MBARI

Image: After sequencing the genome of Mnemiopsis leidyi, researchers in this study compared its genomic data to other ctenophore species including this comb jelly, Bathyctena chuni.

(via: MBARI)