Saturday, November 13, 2010

Georgia Aquarium sequencing the whale shark genome

Georgia Aquarium is sequencing the whale shark genome. This is cutting-edge research because understanding what makes the largest species of a group special provides a reference point for broadening our scientific knowledge of many other aquatic animals (scientists call these comparative analyses). This will allow us to ask and answer questions including: what piece of the DNA makes a whale shark unique, how is it different from other sharks, how are sharks different from other vertebrates including us, and what genes are associated with its unusual size and eating behaviors. Currently our partners at the Emory University Core DNA Sequencing Facility and Roche454 have helped us secure more funds to continue this project. It is our hope that with a few additional gifts and continued support from our partners we will be able to complete our major sequencing efforts in the new year.