Rainbow trout genome shows how genetic material evolved

The genes of the rainbow trout that have been retained and those that have been lost suggest that the genetic material of vertebrates isn't edited as quickly as scientists thought.

Lisac Mark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons

About 100 million years ago, the genome of the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) duplicated itself. Since then, about half of the duplicated protein-coding genes have been lost, but nearly all of the original and duplicate genes that control how genes are expressed still exist, researchers report April 22 in Nature Communications.

The finding challenges the idea that whole genome duplications are followed by quick, massive reorganization and deletions of genetic material. Instead, the gene editing process is slower and more methodical, a discovery that could have implications for understanding how vertebrates evolved, the scientists say.

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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