After only 25 genomes, along with other interesting discoveries:
The team’s improved accuracy shows that previous genome sequences are seriously incomplete. In the zebra finch, for example, the team found eight new chromosomes and about 900 genes that had been thought to be missing. Previously unknown chromosomes popped up in the platypus as well, as members of the team reported online in Nature earlier this year. The researchers also plowed through, and correctly assembled, long stretches of repetitive DNA, much of which contain just two of the four genetic letters. Some scientists considered these stretches to be non-functional “junk” or “dark matter.” Wrong. Many of the repeats occur in regions of the genome that code for proteins, says Jarvis, suggesting that the DNA plays a surprisingly crucial role in turning genes on or off.Howard Hughes, “Project to read genomes of all 70,000 vertebrate species reports first discoveries” at ScienceDaily
Wethinks the Darwinians are going to regret junk DNA>
The new information also may boost efforts to save rare species. “It is a critically important moral duty to help species that are going extinct,” Jarvis says. That’s why the team collected samples from a kākāpō parrot named Jane, part of a captive breeding program that has brought the parrot back from the brink of extinction. In a paper published in the new journal Cell Genomics, of the Cell family of journals, Nicolas Dussex at the University of Otago and colleagues described their studies of Jane’s genes along with other individuals. The work revealed that the last surviving kākāpō population, isolated on an island off New Zealand for the last 10,000 years, has somehow purged deleterious mutations, despite the species’ low genetic diversity. A similar finding was seen for the vaquita, with an estimated 10-20 individuals left on the planet, in a study published in Molecular Ecology Resources, led by Phil Morin at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries in La Jolla, California. “That means there is hope for conserving the species,” Jarvis concludes.Howard Hughes, “Project to read genomes of all 70,000 vertebrate species reports first discoveries” at ScienceDaily
“The work revealed that the last surviving kākāpō population, isolated on an island off New Zealand for the last 10,000 years, has somehow purged deleterious mutations, despite the species’ low genetic diversity.” Hmm.
Both of the first two papers are open access: Here and here.