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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Good News: Your Ancestor was a Jellyfish, not a Sponge

Good News: Your Ancestor was a Jellyfish, not a Sponge

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, April 3, 2019/Categories: natural history, photography

                             Comb Jellyfish (credit: NHGRI)

The evolutionary tree of animals has added some very ancient roots. Research published by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) has pushed the evolution of all animals back to the first progenitor, a comb jellyfish. These animals first appeared in the fossil record in the Cambrian era 500 million years ago.

According to the Institute, their researchers used whole-genome DNA sequencing to analyze the genome of the comb jelly (Ctenophora). They determined the order of the DNA base pairs, 150 million pairs for comb jellies versus 3 billion pairs in humans, that comprised the jelly's genome. Whole-genome data was available to compare
five animal lineages—sponges, flatworms, and mammals, including humans—but Ctenophora remained the last major lineage for which there was no DNA data.

The research results advanced the understanding of evolution for all animal including ourselves. The Institute's director commented: "Expanding our understanding of genomes across the animal kingdom is important for gaining an understanding of evolutionary adaptation at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels. The results of our study lead to a new way of thinking about animal evolution."


You thought you were related to a sponge but now the truth is you came from a jellyfish. The biological 'tree of life' in textbooks can now be properly corrected by the DNA results.

WHB

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