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Platyfish Genome Sequenced

The sequence and analysis of the platyfish genome was published in the May 2013 issuee of Nature Genetics. The work represents the first genome sequence of a poeciliid fish and provides insights into evolutionary adaptation in this freshwater fish as well as a potential model for cancer research. Dr. Wesley Warren of the Genome Institue, the Washington University School of Medicine, and an international group of colleagues report the sequencing. The authors use this as a model to examine the evolution of a number of traits, including a live-bearing reproductive mode, pigmentation patterns, cancer, and behavioral traits. They identify a gene implicated in both pigmentation patterning and melanoma development in the platyfish. They also find evidence for selection of genes associated with viviparity—the development of the embryo inside the body of the mother, eventually leading to a live birth. In addition, they identify selective retention of duplicate genes implicated in cognition during the evolution of teleost fish, suggesting a model for the evolution of behavioral complexity in fish. [Press release] [Nature Genetics abstract]