Tunicates’ scrambled gene order suggests arrangement may not matter for vertebrate body plan and hints at origins of mysterious bits of DNA
As any devotee of Antiques Roadshow can tell you, just because something has been saved doesn’t mean it’s valuable.
Now, a study of plankton shows that a well-preserved genome isn’t necessarily responsible for how vertebrate animals, including humans, are put together. Researchers in Norway and France have deciphered the genetic blueprints of a tunicate called Oikopleura dioica, a tiny member of one of the most abundant plankton types in the oceans. The animal’s compact genome contains roughly 18,000 genes — near