Tuesday, May 21, 2013

my inner fish

I somehow managed to miss Neil Shubin's excellent book "Your inner fish" when it came out a few years ago. Now, however, I had the chance to read it and catch up with my inner fish on the occasion of the publication of the coelacanth genome.

Shubin's discovery of an intermediate fossil, Tiktaalik, and the genomic comparisons of coelacanth with other vertebrates tell us some amazing things on the transition from fish to land-living animals. What I find most mind-boggling, however, is this: If you look at the tree of life from the perspective of the coelacanth, you'll find that mice, chickens and humans are closer relatives than herring or zebrafish, or anything that lives in an aquarium, and never mind sharks and rays. Try to get that into your brain if you're just a fish.

By coincidence, the reference genome of the zebra fish was published almost at the same time, so I could combine one fish that tells us about our evolution with another that tells us about our development, into a feature that is now out in Current Biology;

What fish genomes can tell us about life on land

Current Biology, Volume 23, Issue 10, R419-R421, 20 May 2013

doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.04.068

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