Newswise A lizard-like creature whose ancestors once roamed the Earth with dinosaurs and today is known to live for longer than 100 years may hold clues to a host of questions about the past and the future.
In a study published Aug. 5 in Nature, an interdisciplinary, international team of researchers, in partnership with Mori tribe Ngtiwai, sequenced, assembled and analyzed the complete genome of the Sphenodon punctatus, or the tuatara, a rare reptile whose ancestors once roamed the earth with dinosaurs. It hasnt changed much in the 150 million to 250 million years since then.
We found that the tuatara genome has accumulated far fewer DNA substitutions over time than other reptiles, and the molecular clock for tuataras ticked at a much slower speed than squamates, although faster than turtles and crocodiles, which are the real molecular slowpokes, said co-author Marc Tollis, an assistant professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems at Northern Arizona University. This means in terms of the rate of molecular evolution, tuataras are kind of the Toyota Corollanothing special but very reliable and persistently ticking away over hundreds of millions of years.
Tuatara have been out on their own for a staggering amount of time, with prior estimates ranging from 150250 million years, and with no close relatives the position of tuatara on tree of life has long been contentious. Some argue tuatara are more closely related to birds, crocodiles and turtles, while others say they stem from a common ancestor shared with lizards and snakes. This new research places tuatara firmly in the branch shared with lizards and snakes, but they appear to have split off and been on their own for about 250 million yearsa massive length of time considering primates originated about 65 million years ago, and hominids, from which humans descend, originated approximately six million years ago.
Proving the phylogenetic position of tuatara in a robust way is exciting, but we see the biggest discovery in this research as uncovering the genetic code and beginning to explore aspects of the biology that makes this species so unique, while also developing new information that will help us better conserve this taonga or special treasure, said lead author Neil Gemmell, a professor at the University of Otago.
One area of particular interest is to understand how tuataras, which can live to be more than 100 years old, achieve such longevity. Examining some of the genes implicated in protecting the body from the ravages of age found that tuatara have more of these genes than any other vertebrate species thus far examined, including humans. This could offer clues into how to increase humans resistance to the ailments that kill humans.
But the genome, and the tuatara itself, has so many other unique features all on its own. For one, scientists have found tuatara fossils dating back 150 million years, and they look exactly the same as the animals today. The fossil story dates the tuatara lineage to the Triassic Period, when dinosaurs were just starting to roam the Earth.
The tuatara genome is really a time machine that allows us to understand what the genetic conditions were for animals that were vying for world supremacy hundreds of millions of years ago, he said. A genome sequence from an animal this ancient and divergent could give us a better idea about what the ancestral amniote genome might have looked like.
While modern birds are the descendants of dinosaurs, they are less suitable for this type of research because avian genomes have lost a significant amount of DNA since diverging from their dinosaur ancestors.
But the tuataras, which used to be spread throughout the world, have other unusual features. Particularly relevant to this research is the size of its genome; the genome of this little lizard has 5 billion bases of DNA, making it 67 percent larger than a human genome. Additionally, tuataras have temperature-based sex determination, which means the ratio of males to females in a clutch of eggs depends on the temperatures at which they are incubated. They also have a pronounced third eyea light sensory organ that sticks through the top of their skulls. Mammals skulls have completely covered the third eye, though they still contain the pineal gland underneath, which helps maintain circadian rhythms.
The tuatara also is unique in that it is sacred to the Mori people. This research, for all the scientific knowledge that came from it, was groundbreaking for its collaboration with the Indigenous New Zealanders. The purpose was to ensure the research aligned with and respected the importance of the tuatara in their culture, which has never been done before in genomic research.
Tuatara are a taonga, and its pleasing to see the results of this study have now been published, Ngtiwai Trust Board resource management unit manager Alyx Pivac said. Our hope is that this is yet another piece of information that will help us understand tuatara and aid in the conservation of this special species. We want to extend a big mihi to all of those who have been involved in this important piece of work.
With the genome now sequenced, the international science community has a blueprint through which to examine the many unique features of tuatara biology, which will aid humanunderstanding of the evolution of the amniotes, a group that includes birds, reptiles and mammals.
Here is the original post:
Arizona biologist part of international team to sequence genome of rare reptilian living fossil - Newswise
- Buy or sell Human Longevity stock pre IPO via an EquityZen ... - November 29th, 2020
- Deep Longevity Adds Partnership with My Care Express in Merrillville To Add Biomarkers of Aging and Longevity - PRNewswire - November 29th, 2020
- Unravelling the holy grail of anti-ageing and longevity - The Business Times - November 29th, 2020
- Longevity and Anti-senescence Therapy Market size and Key Trends in terms of volume and value 2020-2025 - Express Journal - November 29th, 2020
- Genomic Biomarker Market Research Report 2020 with Business Overview and Manufacturers Profiles till 2026 - Cheshire Media - November 29th, 2020
- Microbiome Therapeutics Market: What's the Future Potential? Roots Analysis - Cheshire Media - November 29th, 2020
- Precision Medicine Software Market 2020: Potential growth, attractive valuation make it is a long-term investment | Know the COVID19 Impact | Top... - November 29th, 2020
- 5 Benefits of Probiotics for Gut Health - Longevity LIVE - Longevity LIVE - November 29th, 2020
- Mutations of the coronavirus do not appear to make the virus more infectious, study says | TheHill - The Hill - November 29th, 2020
- Simone Faurschous jewellery is inspired by human connection and isolation - Wallpaper* - November 29th, 2020
- In An Anxious 2020, Exercise Might Be The Answer - Longevity LIVE - Longevity LIVE - November 29th, 2020
- Another Win for Senolytics: Fighting Aging at the Cellular Level Just Got Easier - Singularity Hub - November 29th, 2020
- Mybiopassport Launches The COVID-19 & Immunity Profile At-home Blood Collection Test - Business Wire - November 29th, 2020
- Despite COVID, still best time ever to be alive - Bainbridge Island Review - November 29th, 2020
- How Balkan botanists saved a threatened oak and are planting thousands more - BirdLife International - November 29th, 2020
- Precision Medicine Software Industry Market likely to touch new heights by end o - News by aeresearch - November 29th, 2020
- MEO Satellite Market 2020 | Know the Latest COVID19 Impact Analysis And Strategies of Key Players: Airbus Defence and Space, OHB SE, Boeing Defense,... - November 29th, 2020
- How Phase 4 Can Set Up Namor In The MCU (Before Black Panther 2) - Screen Rant - November 29th, 2020
- Genetic differences and longevity-related phenotypes influence lifespan and lifespan variation in a sex-specific manner in mice - DocWire News - October 27th, 2020
- Lazard Asset Management expands thematic investment offering with new healthcare team - Institutional Asset Manager - October 27th, 2020
- The Divine Light of Healing and Understanding The Crystal Age of Abundance and Longevity - FinalCall.com News - October 27th, 2020
- New Research Uncovers Why Bats Excel As Viral Reservoirs Without Getting Sick - SciTechDaily - October 27th, 2020
- How to live longer: Best ingredients to add to your smoothie to boost longevity - Express - October 27th, 2020
- Gartner: 10 predictions for the next decade of IT - IDG Connect - October 27th, 2020
- Global Precision Medicine Software Market 2020 Recovering From Covid-19 Outbreak|Know More About Brand Players - The Think Curiouser - October 27th, 2020
- "The first stage was be a functional human again, and open the door with the keys" - SportsJOE.ie - October 27th, 2020
- AI Medicine Software Industry Market Outlook | Development Factors, Latest Opportunities and Forecast 2025 - The Think Curiouser - October 27th, 2020
- IOTA Joins Project Funded by Japanese National R&D Agency NEDO to Build First-Ever AI and DLT-based Predictive Maintenance System - Business Wire - October 27th, 2020
- Why is there a need of Global Health Revolution - The Financial Express - October 27th, 2020
- Genomic Biomarker Market Growth, Demands, CAGR, Sales Volume, Opportunities, Types, Applications and Forecast up to 2023 - The Think Curiouser - October 27th, 2020
- Here's How Our Pets Have Protected Our Mental Health During The Pandemic - Longevity LIVE - October 27th, 2020
- Stellar Speakers to Make Targeting Metabesity 2020 One of the Most Important Healthy Longevity Conferences of the Year - PRNewswire - October 9th, 2020
- Women In Longevity Medicine And The Rise Of The Longevity Physician - Forbes - October 9th, 2020
- Translating research findings into policy and practice - University World News - October 9th, 2020
- Evidence suggests getting the flu shot could help protect you against COVID-19 - Atlanta Journal Constitution - October 9th, 2020
- What is brain health and why is it important? - The BMJ - October 9th, 2020
- Mental health; its never late to seek help - The New Indian Express - October 9th, 2020
- 'Aging in Your 20s and 30s' panel to be held Oct. 16 - College of Health and Human Sciences - Source - October 9th, 2020
- Pico Iyer on the L.A. Times Festival of Books and community - Los Angeles Times - October 9th, 2020
- OPINION | PLATFORM DIVING: Message in new 'Digimon' film is that everyone grows up - Arkansas Online - October 9th, 2020
- Doubting Tom Bradys longevity never ages well - Maize n Brew - October 9th, 2020
- City Trees Need to Be Future-Proofed - The Atlantic - October 9th, 2020
- BioAge Discovers Key Pathway and Identifies Promising Phase 2 Ready Drug to Treat and Reverse Immune Aging, a Root Cause of COVID-19 Morbidity and... - August 26th, 2020
- Longevity and Anti senescence Therapy Market Size The Daily Chronicle - The Daily Chronicle - August 26th, 2020
- Cellular Reprogramming Tools Market 2020 (Covid-19 Impact) In-depth Industry Analysis By Types, Applications and Forecast 2026: Celgene, Cynata,... - August 26th, 2020
- Functioning liver cells regenerate in pig lymph nodes, and a human trial is coming - FierceBiotech - August 26th, 2020
- What are you doing to increase your Brainspan? - Longevity LIVE - August 26th, 2020
- What This Cardiologist Wants You To Know About Vitamin D & Longevity - mindbodygreen.com - August 26th, 2020
- Adrenomyeloneuropathy Treatment Market 2020 (Covid-19 Impact) In-depth Industry Analysis By Types, Applications and Forecast 2026: Ascend... - August 26th, 2020
- Gig Line: A few words that can change the world - The Coastland Times - The Coastland Times - August 26th, 2020
- The pandemic threatens how we naturally grow and benefit from relationships - CNN - August 26th, 2020
- 25 Super Fruits to Add to Your Diet Today - Healthline - August 26th, 2020
- State Actions to Sustain Medicaid Long-Term Services and Supports During COVID-19 - Kaiser Family Foundation - August 26th, 2020
- Brainstorming.com Launches a New Collaborative Idea Building Platform - London Daily Post - August 26th, 2020
- Find Out Updated Report On Precision Medicine Software Market Along With COVID-19 Updates, Ongoing Trend, Scope, CAGR, Forecast Till 2027 And Top Key... - August 26th, 2020
- CarthroniX President/Chairman of the Board R. Rex Parris and Carrol Parris Donate $50,000 in Support of Life Extension Research - PRNewswire - August 6th, 2020
- Your Pension May Be Gambling On Human Life, Profiting From COVID Deaths - Forbes - August 6th, 2020
- NeoGenomics Slumps in Q2 but Readies for Second-Half Rebound - The Motley Fool - August 6th, 2020
- In Depth Analysis and Survey of COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Global Genomic Biomarker Market 2020 Key Players Bio Rad, Beckman Coulter, Myriad... - August 6th, 2020
- How to live longer: Diet shown to burn fat, improve heart health and to boost longevity - Express - August 6th, 2020
- Precision Medicine Software Industry Market Outlook | Development Factors, Latest Opportunities and Forecast 2025 - AlgosOnline - August 6th, 2020
- Common sense and courage will get us through - News-Press Now - August 6th, 2020
- Microbiome Therapeutics Market: What's the Future Potential? - Bulletin Line - August 6th, 2020
- Covid-19 Impact On Cellular Reprogramming Tools Market 2020: Global Industry Overview By Top Key Players Analysis And Growth Factors Up To 2026 |... - August 6th, 2020
- Precision Medicine Software Market 2020 Segmented by Major Market Players, Types, Applications and Countries Forecast to 2026 - Bulletin Line - August 6th, 2020
- Six Thoughts to Deal with Your COVID-19 Anxiety - Longevity LIVE - August 6th, 2020
- Adrenomyeloneuropathy Treatment Market 2020 Segmented by Major Market Players, Types, Applications and Countries Forecast to 2026 - Owned - August 6th, 2020
- Secrets to tuatara's long life revealed - The Bay's News First - SunLive - August 6th, 2020
- Banaian, Schmitz: Are 4-year degrees oversold? Not at all, even in the liberal arts - TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press - August 6th, 2020
- Are very long-lived trees immortal and what can they teach humans? - ABC News - August 6th, 2020
- Assessment of COVID-19's Effect on Precision Medicine Software Market 2020-2024 | Benefits of Precision Medicine to Augment Growth | Technavio -... - June 24th, 2020
- Metzls Dying of Whiteness honored with RFK Book Award - Vanderbilt University News - June 24th, 2020
- Precision Medicine Software Market 2020: Challenges, Growth, Types, Applications, Revenue, Insights, Growth Analysis, Competitive Landscape, Forecast-... - June 24th, 2020
- Microbiota: what you need to know about it to be healthy - The Times Hub - June 24th, 2020
- You're Only As Old As The Applications You Feel - IT Jungle - June 24th, 2020
- Germline Mutation Rate in Healthy Young Adults Predictive of Fertility, Lifespan - Clinical OMICs News - June 24th, 2020
- Rescuing the Delicious on Okinawa - Slow food - June 24th, 2020
- Human Longevity - Wikipedia - June 20th, 2020
- The left only loves science when it suits their cause - The Post Millennial - June 20th, 2020
- The Drug That Could One Day Help People and Dogs Live Longer - Discover Magazine - June 20th, 2020