Special Reviews

Paleogenomics of Echinoderms

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Science  10 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5801, pp. 956-960
DOI: 10.1126/science.1132310

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Paleogenomics propels the meaning of genomic studies back through hundreds of millions of years of deep time. Now that the genome of the echinoid Strongylocentrotus purpuratus is sequenced, the operation of its genes can be interpreted in light of the well-understood echinoderm fossil record. Characters that first appear in Early Cambrian forms are still characteristic of echinoderms today. Key genes for one of these characters, the biomineralized tissue stereom, can be identified in the S. purpuratus genome and are likely to be the same genes that were involved with stereom formation in the earliest echinoderms some 520 million years ago.

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