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This Week in Nature: Apr 18, 2013

In this week's Nature, an international team of researchers led by the Broad Institute's Kerstin Lindblad-Toh report on the genomic sequence of the African coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae, which is part of a lineage of lobe-finned fish thought until the 1930s to have become extinct millions of years ago. The scientists found that the fish's protein-coding genes, are "significantly more slowly evolving than those of other tetrapods, unlike other genomic features." They also confirmed that another lobe-finned fish, the lungfish, and not the coelacanth is the closest living relative of tetrapods.

Daily Scan sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News has more on this study here.

Also in Nature, a team led by investigators from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute publish the sequenced genome of the zebrafish, one of the most widely used model organisms. They found that the zebrafish has the largest gene set of any vertebrate sequences so far, and show that 70 percent of human genes have at least one obvious zebrafish ortholog. In a second study, a team also led by Sanger's Derek Stemple used the zebrafish reference genome to find potentially disruptive mutations in more that 38 percent of the animal's known protein-encoding genes. They also found mutations in zebrafish equivalents of 3,188 genes associated with human diseases, and 2,505 alleles associated with a human trait.

GWDN also has more on these studies here.