This week's publication of the complete genomic sequence of a living marine sponge reveals genes dating back hundreds of millions of years –– a result far exceeding the expectations of the scientific world.
Four scientists from UC Santa Barbara contributed to the sequencing of the genome of a Great Barrier Reef marine sponge, from a 650 million-year-old group of organisms –– a project that indicates there were astonishingly rich genetic resources available at the dawn of the animal kingdom. The sequencing also reveals some basic information about cancer. The findings are published in the August 5th issue of the scientific journal Nature.
"This is a milestone sequence," said Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director of UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute (NRI) and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research. "This sponge is the most basal animal for which we have a genome."