The great white shark, one of the most fearsome predators in the world’s oceans in both fact and fiction, is a formidable creature — right down to its genes. Scientists on Monday said they have decoded the genome of Earth’s largest predatory fish, detecting numerous genetic traits that help explain its remarkable evolutionary success, including molecular adaptations to enhance wound healing as well as genomic stability such as DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance. The great white shark, whose scientific name is Carcharodon carcharias, boasts a very large genome, 1-1/2 times bigger than the human genome. In theory, large genomes with a lot of repeated DNA, like this shark possesses, and its large body size should promote a high incidence of genome instability, with much more DNA and many more cells seemingly vulnerable as targets for damage through an accumulation of routine mutations. Just the opposite seems to be the case for this shark, thanks to adaptations in genes involved in preserving genome integrity. “This knowledge, in addition to providing understanding into how sharks work at their most fundamental level — their genes — may also be useful in downstream applications to human medicine to combat cancers and age-related diseases… Read full this story
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