The Other 95%, a blog devoted to invertebrates, dissects yet another Uncommonly Dense misconception. A recent Science paper (subscription) described the discovery that sea anemones have some genes that are very similar to some human genes. The Science News story says
One of the big surprises of the anemone genome, says Swalla, is the discovery of blocks of DNA that have the same complement of genes as in the human genome. Individual genes may have swapped places, but often they have remained linked together despite hundreds of millions of years of evolution along separate paths, Putnam, Rokhsar, and their colleagues report. Researchers see little conservation of gene linkages in nematodes and fruit flies.
Moreover, the anemone genes look vertebratelike. They often are full of noncoding regions called introns, which are much less common in nematodes and fruit flies than in vertebrates. And more than 80% of the anemone introns are in the same places in humans, suggesting that they probably existed in the common ancestor. “The work presents a missing piece of the puzzle, which people studying intron evolution have been searching for in the past few years,” says Majewski. “They present a strong validation for an intron-rich ancestor,” he says..
With its usual penetrating incomprehension, UD wonders how human genes got into anemones. The Other 95% straightens them out. Read and enjoy.