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Coelacanth genome gives clues to tetrapod origins (free pdf)

From: Ben Creisler

A new non-dino article of interest. The paper is open access.

Chris T. Amemiya, Jessica Alföldi,  Alison P. Lee, Shaohua Fan, Hervé
Philippe, et al.
The African coelacanth genome provides insights into tetrapod evolution.
Nature 496: 311–316

The discovery of a living coelacanth specimen in 1938 was remarkable,
as this lineage of lobe-finned fish was thought to have become extinct
70 million years ago. The modern coelacanth looks remarkably similar
to many of its ancient relatives, and its evolutionary proximity to
our own fish ancestors provides a glimpse of the fish that first
walked on land. Here we report the genome sequence of the African
coelacanth, Latimeria chalumnae. Through a phylogenomic analysis, we
conclude that the lungfish, and not the coelacanth, is the closest
living relative of tetrapods. Coelacanth protein-coding genes are
significantly more slowly evolving than those of tetrapods, unlike
other genomic features. Analyses of changes in genes and regulatory
elements during the vertebrate adaptation to land highlight genes
involved in immunity, nitrogen excretion and the development of fins,
tail, ear, eye, brain and olfaction. Functional assays of enhancers
involved in the fin-to-limb transition and in the emergence of
extra-embryonic tissues show the importance of the coelacanth genome
as a blueprint for understanding tetrapod evolution.

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