Primitive animals have untapped genetic potential
The common ancestor of all animals may have resembled a certain absorbent, yellow, porous someone who lives in a pineapple under the sea.
The evidence lies in the genes, not the pants.
A complete genetic catalog of the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica suggests that the first animals already had a complex kit of genetic tools at their disposal. Sponges harbor between 18,000 and 30,000 genes — roughly the same number as humans, fruit flies, roundworms and other animals, an international team of researchers reports in the Aug. 5 Nature.
Comparison of the sponge’s genetic blueprints with those of other animals reveals that sponge genes are lined up in