What is it about?
Seadragons are fishes widely recognized for their flashy traits, which include leaf-like appendages, very long snouts, and extreme spinal curvature. In this paper we present sequenced genomes of both leafy and weedy seadragon species, which we use to uncover surprising features of their DNA, including modifications to both important developmental genes and repetitive regions.
Photo by Dina Abdel Wahab on Unsplash
Why is it important?
Efforts to understand the genetic reasons for seadragons' unique appearance, as well as conserve these species and their relatives, are aided by information about their genomes. Our work shows that the unique structure of seadragon genomes may have facilitated loss and duplication of groups of genes that are important for attributes of body shape in vertebrates. The genomes and our analysis of their sequences help advance the study of how elaborate animal traits, like the extravagant forms of seadragons and their pipefish and seahorse relatives, evolve in nature.
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This page is a summary of: Leafy and weedy seadragon genomes connect genic and repetitive DNA features to the extravagant biology of syngnathid fishes, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2119602119.
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