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Who needs structure, anyway?

A tiny, mucus-covered animal shatters assumptions about genome architecture

Megan Scudellari
The architecture features of the animal genome may not be as valuable as scientists once thought. The newly described genome of a tiny, transparent marine animal breaks all the structural rules previously thought to be important for animal genomes -- overturning the belief that common architectural features of genomes, observed across all animal kingdoms, are maintained by natural selection.
Oikopleura dioica
Image by Jean-Marie Bouquet and Jiri Slama, copyright Science/AAAS
The finding, published online today at linkurl:Science,;http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/recent shows that an animal genome can be highly flexible and still maintain its function."Given the large number of genomes that have been nearly completely sequenced over the past ten years, one would expect us to have reached near saturation with respect to new findings, but surprises still emerge," linkurl:Michael Lynch,;http://www.bio.indiana.edu/faculty/directory/profile.php?person=milynch a researcher studying evolution and genomics at Indiana University who was not involved in the research, said in an email to...
The Scientist.Oikopleura dioicaOikopleuraOikopleura,OikopleuraOikopleura'sOikopleuraOikopleura
Oikopleura dioica
Image by Jean-Marie Bouquet and Jiri Slama, copyright Science/AAAS
OikopleuraDenoeud, F. et al., "Plasticity of animal genome architecture unmasked by rapid evolution of a pelagic tunicate," Science, published online 18 November 2010, doi:10.1126/science.1194167.



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