HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Scientists: New phylum sheds light on ancestor of animals, humans

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Genetic analysis of an obscure, worm-like creature retrieved from the depths of the North Atlantic has led to the discovery of a new phylum, a rare event in an era when most organisms have already been grouped into major evolutionary categories.

The analysis also appears to shed light on the ancestor of chordates, the backboned animals that include human beings and two small invertebrate groups closely related to one another: lancelets and tunicates.

"It's a tremendous surprise that this mysterious creature from the ocean will help us understand our distant past," said Leonid Moroz, a professor of neuroscience and zoology at UF's Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience near St. Augustine and one of the researchers who participated in the discovery.

Moroz and 13 other scientists report their findings today in the journal Nature.

Scientists have long been puzzled by the half-inch-long creature known by its scientific name of Xenoturbella and first retrieved from the Baltic Sea more than 50 years ago. Early genetic research identified it as a type of mollusk. But then scientists discovered the mollusk-like DNA actually resulted not from the creature itself, but from its close association to clams and likely habit of eating mollusk eggs, Moroz said. The Xenoturbella does not seem to have a brain, gut or gonads, making it unique among living animals.

More precise genomic sequencing at the Whitney Lab where Moroz and his collaborators identified about 1,300 genes including mitochondrial genes helped to reveal a surprise: Xenoturbella belongs to its own phylum, a broad class of organisms lying just below kingdom in taxonomic classification. It is one of only about 32 such phyla in the animal kingdom. "During the last 50 to 60 years, only a few new phyla have been established," Moroz said.

Perhaps more significant, the analysis of Xenoturbella seems to confirm that human beings and other chordates
'"/>

Contact: Leonid Moroz
moroz@whitney.ufl.edu
386-986-9083
University of Florida
2-Nov-2006


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Scientists: As rainfall changes, tropical plants may acclimate
2. Scientists: Wildlife corridors benefit plant biodiversity, native plants
3. Coelacanth fossil sheds light on fin-to-limb evolution
4. Molecule blocks gene, sheds light on liver cancer
5. Enzyme discovery sheds light on vitamin D
6. Study sheds light on why humans walk on two legs
7. New method for reading DNA sheds light on basis of cell identity
8. Ancient retrovirus sheds light on modern pandemic
9. Executable biology -- Computer science sheds light on animal development
10. New Brandeis research sheds light on memory by erasing it
11. Scripps research team sheds light on long-sought cold sensation gene

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:10/31/2018)... N.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 30, 2018 , ... ... of Brad Heidinger to Director of Operations. With more than 20 years of ... proven visionary leadership in the biomanufacturing industry. Heidinger joins Azzur from ImmunoReagents, a ...
(Date:10/31/2018)... ... October 31, 2018 , ... RPS ... clearing the way for its immediate launch in the European Union and all ... use point-of-care test that is expected to contribute towards a diagnostic solution to ...
(Date:10/26/2018)... ... October 26, 2018 , ... uBiome, the leader in ... Sapphire Women’s Health Group and prominent women’s health expert, to its Medical Advisory ... Dr. Moore will bring to uBiome her expertise on women’s health including risk ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/9/2018)... ... November 08, 2018 , ... ... automation and IT solutions with 140 employees on both the east and west ... at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on November 14 and 15 in Philadelphia. The ...
(Date:11/5/2018)... ... November 05, 2018 , ... ... education center to increase access to science research and education in the Frederick ... Technology (CREST) aims to provide access to STEM-based undergraduate and graduate degree and ...
(Date:11/3/2018)... ... November 01, 2018 , ... Come to Princeton Nov. 14 ... Advisor, Division of Clinical Compliance Evaluation, CDER, FDA will be presenting on using ... What should clinical research industry stakeholders keep in mind when implementing and managing ...
(Date:10/31/2018)... (PRWEB) , ... October 30, 2018 , ... Pippa Rose is a young Labrador retriever. ... one year old, Pippa suffered a partial tear to the cruciate ligament in her right ... run or go on walks. Kinsley reported that it broke her heart to see ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: