Urea and Its Formation in Coelacanth Liver

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Science  03 Feb 1967:
Vol. 155, Issue 3762, pp. 570-573
DOI: 10.1126/science.155.3762.570


Urea occurs in liver of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae to the extent of about 1.7 percent by weight. It was determined quantitatively by reaction with 1-phenyl-1,2-propanedione-2-oxime (Archibald reagent) and by measurement of ammonia released upon treatment with urease. Arginase and ornithine carbamoyltransferase, enzymes instrumental in the formation of urea in typical ureotelic vertebrates, occur in homogenates of coelacanth liver. Formed in part by the ornithine-urea cycle, urea may have an osmoregulatory function in the coelacanth as it has in elasmobranchs.