News Focus

Genes for Extremes

Science  06 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6163, pp. 1160-1161
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6163.1160

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Summary

Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The king cobra is the largest venomous snake in the world and one of the most dangerous ones; the Burmese python strangles its prey to death and can live on just three to five meals a year. The studies, published this week, reveal the molecular basis for these snakes' remarkable features and also show that snakes as a group have evolved at a very high speed.