Humans and Great White Sharks have a Similar Genome
Човек и акулите са със сходен геном
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Humans and Great White Sharks have a Similar Genome

Plamena M.Plamena M.
Novice
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Sharks

The most ancient ocean predator is the great white shark. Recently, scientists decoded its genome for the first time. It turns out that it is similar to a great extent to the genetic code of man.

The great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) is one of the largest carnivorous fish. It has always been of great interest to scientists. This interest is especially significant today, with this species being on the edge of extinction.

Great whites have long been considered a "genetic mystery". Not long ago scientists from Cornell University, US, took on the laborious task of deciphering its genetic code.

For the research, the scientists used the heart of a great white shark, that was caught by poachers and given to the scientists by American law enforcement. The genes of the shark were first compared to those of a danio fish, and then with human ones.

The danio fish is small, serving as an example specimen, since it is most well studied. However, it turned out that great white sharks had no similarities to it. This was an extremely strange ascertainment, primarily from an evolutionary standpoint, since danio are very close to marine predators.

Great white

When scientists compared the genes of the shark and those of man, they came upon another strange discovery - the proteins, responsible for the metabolism in sharks, were similar to a human's. This fact can only be explained by great white sharks being partly warm-blooded.

Therefore, the exchange of chemicals in them is more intensive than in cold-blooded fish. This thesis has yet to be proven, with more studies being carried out in the future, where the genes of great white sharks are compared to those of other warm-blooded predators.

A few years ago, Australian scientists managed to fully decipher the genome of a kangaroo. Then it was proven once more that genetically, the animal with the pouch was very similar to man.

Scientists suggested that the genetic predecessors of man and kangaroo "split" about 150 million years ago. For comparison, mice and men have an 85% genetic similarity and split from each other around 70 million years ago.

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