Navigation Links
New genomic study provides a glimpse of how whales could adapt to ocean
Date:11/24/2013

November 24, 2013, Shenzhen, China - In a paper published in Nature Genetics, researchers from Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Korea Genome Research Foundation, BGI, and other institutes presented the first high-depth minke whale genome and their new findings on how whales successfully adapted to ocean environment. The data yielded in this study will contribute to future studies of marine mammal diseases, conservation and evolution.

Whales roam throughout all of the world's oceans, living in the water but breathing air like humans. At the top of the food chain, whales are vital to the health of the marine environment, whereas 7 out of the 13 great whale species are endangered or vulnerable. The minke whale is the most abundant baleen whale. Its wide distribution makes it an ideal candidate for whole reference genome sequencing.

In this study, researchers conducted de novo sequencing on a minke whale with 128x average depth of coverage, and re-sequenced three minke whales, a fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), a bottlenose dolphin, and a finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides). The yielded data may help to improve scientists' understanding of the evolutionary changes adapted to ocean environment from whole genome level.

The adaptation of whale to ocean life was notably marked by resistance to physiological stresses caused by a lack of oxygen, increased reactive oxygen species, and high salt level. In this study, researchers investigated a number of whale-specific genes that were strongly associated with stress resistance, such as the peroxiredoxin (PRDX) family, O-linked N-acetylglucosaminylation (O-GlcNAcylation). The results revealed that the gene families associated with stress-responsive proteins and anaerobic metabolism were expanded.

Perhaps the most dramatic environmental adaptation for a whale is deep diving, which can induce hypoxia. Under the hypoxic conditions, the body might produce more reactive oxygen species (ROS), harmful compounds that can damage DNA. Glutathione is a well-known antioxidant that prevents damage to important cellular components by ROS. In this study, researchers provided evidence to support that there is an increased ratio of reduced glutathione/glutathione disulfide when suffering hypoxic or oxidative stress.

Minke whales and other Mysticeti whale species grow baleen instead of teeth. It's previously reported that the genes ENAM, MMP, and AMEL might play a role in tooth enamel formation and biomineralization. This study showed that these genes may be pseudogenes with early stop codons in the baleen whales. In addition, researchers found that the gene families related to whale's body hair and sensory receptors were contracted, such as Keratin-related gene families associated with hair formation, several Hox genes that play an important role in the body plan and embryonic development.

Xuanmin Guang, project manager from BGI, said, "Minke whale is the first marine mammal that has been sequenced with such high-depth genome coverage. The genome data not only can help us know much more about the adaption mechanisms underlying minke whale, but also provides invaluable resource for marine mammal's future studies such as diseases control and prevention, species conservation,and protection."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jia Liu
liujia@genomics.cn
BGI Shenzhen
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Baylor, DNAnexus, Amazon Web Services collaboration enables largest-ever cloud-based analysis of genomic data
2. Coimbra Genomics and BGI join forces to conquer stomach cancer
3. New NIH-funded resource focuses on use of genomic variants in medical care
4. Georgia State researcher gets $499,209 NSF grant to advance sociogenomics
5. Genetics in Medicine publishes special issue dedicated to genomics in electronic health records
6. Mayo Clinic hosts NIH genomics director at Individualizing Medicine Conference
7. NIH program explores the use of genomic sequencing in newborn healthcare
8. Researchers develop software tool for cancer genomics
9. HSCI researchers extend human epigenomic map
10. Genomic atlas of gene switches in plants provides roadmap for crop research
11. New genomics research project to eliminate Listeria from food supply
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2016)... Sweden , April 28, 2016 First ... M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 ... profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin ... 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was SEK ... The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 2016  A new partnership announced today will ... decisions in a fraction of the time it ... high-value life insurance policies to consumers without requiring ... Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) ... pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... March 31, 2016   ... or the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to ... its soon to be launched online site for trading ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense ... technology to an industry that is notorious for fraud. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... clients in mind, the fresh look and added functionality give the agricultural world ... have seen a dynamic shift in agriculture – from precision farming via satellites ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Proove Biosciences, Inc ., ... the launch of the Proove Health Foundation . The Foundation is a ... the use of personalized medicine for tackling the nation’s most-pressing healthcare epidemics. As ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Summit for Stem Cell has ... development of a patient-specific stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The ... Jeanne Loring at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA. , ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 Q ... the Company,s CEO  was featured in an article ... When VCs Fear To Tread: http://www.lifescienceleader.com/doc/accelerators-enter-when-vcs-fear-to-tread-0001 ... magazine is an essential business journal for ... emerging biotechs to Big Pharmas. Their content is ...
Breaking Biology Technology: