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First Complete Lizard Genome Sequenced 105

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the reptiles-are-from-space dept.
iamrmani writes with an article in the International Business Times about the recent gene sequencing of a lizard. From the article: "Researchers have managed to sequence the genes of the green anole lizard, which is the first non-bird species of reptile to have its genome sequenced and assembled. The findings, which researchers have obtained after assembling and analyzing more than 20 mammalian genomes, may go a long way in understanding the evolution of animals and humans."
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First Complete Lizard Genome Sequenced

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  • Jurassic Park, here we come! Bring on the Velociraptors!!
    • Bring on the Furries!

    • Oh, pretty birdies~

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Jurassic Park, here we come! Bring on the Velociraptors!!

      you mean Deinonychus right?

      Velociraptor was the size of a goose or near there

      Deinonychus just didn't sound cool enough for the movie... so they went with the wrong name

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velociraptor

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinonychus

      • by mldi (1598123)

        Jurassic Park, here we come! Bring on the Velociraptors!!

        you mean Deinonychus right?

        Velociraptor was the size of a goose or near there

        Deinonychus just didn't sound cool enough for the movie... so they went with the wrong name

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velociraptor

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinonychus

        And Godzilla doesn't exist, but it's still fun. Don't ruin the fun.

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        Jurassic Park, here we come! Bring on the Velociraptors!!

        you mean Deinonychus right?

        Velociraptor was the size of a goose or near there

        Deinonychus just didn't sound cool enough for the movie... so they went with the wrong name

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velociraptor

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinonychus

        You do realize that the wikipedia article on velociraptor even says that, at the time Jurassic Park was written, Deinonychus was classified as Velociraptor antirrhopus by Gregory Paul. So, calling them velociraptors would have been technically correct. It would seem that, in the book at least, "velociraptor" was being used as a generic term for basically all raptors.

    • Godzilla, here we come! Bring on the Mothras!!

    • I'm still waiting for the sequence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

      • by cellocgw (617879)

        I'm still waiting for the sequence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
        That's easy:
        spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti,.....,spagetti, meatball, meatball, spaghetti, spaghetti, spaghetti...

  • Lounges (Score:4, Funny)

    by sycodon (149926) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @08:54AM (#37274146)

    Lounges across the world have become that must less mysterious.

    • by splatter (39844)

      doo ta da doo ta doo ta da doo, doo ta da doo ta doo ta da doo.... great now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head all day. Were is my suit it's time to hit the bar.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mensa Babe (675349) * on Thursday September 01, 2011 @08:55AM (#37274154) Homepage Journal
    The first non-bird species of reptile? I've heard that it is also the first non-mammal species of reptile to have its genome sequenced. Seriously though, the Slashdot summary may sound stupid (shocking, I know) but the story is actually quite interesting. Of course this is not something to read about in the International Business Times! There is a much better article in Scientific American: Lizard Genome Unveiled: First non-avian reptile sequence helps explain vertebrate evolution [scientificamerican.com] by Lee Sweetlove. Highly recommended reading. I also recommend this article on PhysOrg: First lizard genome sequenced [physorg.com] by Haley Bridger. Ths story is particularly remarkable that when we have successfully sequenced the genomes of the entire line of the fish - reptile - bird - mammal evolution then we will finally be able to prove the theory even beyond any reasonable doubt of intelligent designers. Hopefully this breakthrough will start an interesting discussion in the world of science about the exact details of the natural selection in general and the speciation in particular.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @09:05AM (#37274212)

      The first non-bird species of reptile? I've heard that it is also the first non-mammal species of reptile to have its genome sequenced

      As far as I know, the most up-to-date evidence suggests that the proper classification of birds is "dinosaurs," and therefore "reptiles."

      • by jmauro (32523)

        If dinosaurs are birds that means dinosaurs are not reptiles. Sorry dude reptiles and birds share as much in common as mammals and birds. The statement above is total nonsense.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I know it's bad form to RTFA, but you should at least take a look at figure 1 [nature.com]. Maybe that will explain your confusion (or your heritage?)

          • by jc42 (318812)

            I know it's bad form to RTFA, but you should at least take a look at figure 1.

            My main thought when I first saw that diagram was "Oh, my!" Then I mentally shrugged at such a radically over-simplified, (and quite possibly incorrect) taxonomy tree, and continued reading.

            The main comment many biologists would make about arguing about the relationship between the Reptilia, the Dinosauria, and the Mammalia is "Further research is needed". It's fairly common to just draw a 3-way split. Yes, this is unlikely, but it is the best way to say "We really don't yet have the evidence to resol

        • The thing works like folders in Windows.

          Reptiles->Dinosaurs (descended from Reptiles)->Birds (Descended from Dinosaurs) so birds are a type of Reptile now. I believe this is the video from AronRa that explains it well enough.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A-dMqEbSk8&feature=channel_video_title [youtube.com]

        • If dinosaurs are birds that means dinosaurs are not reptiles. Sorry dude reptiles and birds share as much in common as mammals and birds. The statement above is total nonsense.

          I think it's more like :

          Birds come from dinosaurs, and dinosaurs are reptiles.

          Thus the "first non-bird species of reptile".

          That is the first real reptile as we usually classify them.

          My 2ct...

        • by jbengt (874751)
          Regardless of whether or not dinosaurs are birds, dinosaurs are not reptiles.
        • Sorry dude reptiles and birds share as much in common as mammals and birds.

          And (some) reptiles and birds share much more in common than corcodiles, turtles and lizards.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        And you just flunked biology.

        Dinosaurs and not birds. Birds are not reptiles, Dinosaurs are not reptiles WHAT????

        Here I will do my best to spell it out for you.

        Reptiles
        Dinosaurs Mammals
        Birds

        That is how it goes in a s

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Modern biology is moving away from the designation "reptiles" because it is paraphyletic, that is, it does not include all of th descendants of one common ancestor. Reptiles excludes birds and mammals. This makes it useless to modern science, which focuses more on the way things are related than the superficial similarities between them as classical linnean taxonomy does. This is known as cladistics. Learn about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cladistics

        • That is how it goes in a second grade level explanation or evolution.

          That's the problem with second grade. It's a simplification to make the data accessible to second graders. It doesn't take into account more complex knowledge that we have acquired since then.
          Oh, and by the way, atoms aren't small collection of beads orbiting each other. That's also a school-science simplification that fails to take into account wave functions and all such wonders.
          All these is what some name "lies-to-children [wikipedia.org]"

          Don't get me wrong: There's nothing inherently bad in using simplification. You ju

          • If you want to lump turtles, crocodiles and lizards in the same "reptile" class, you end up with a definition so broad of "reptiles", and a position so early in the evolution tree, that you need to lump dinosaurs and birds in the same class too (and only miss lumping mammals too by a hairbreadth. We split appart a tiny little bit earlier).

            Nice wikipedia picture [wikipedia.org]

            We (mammals) are down the "Synapsid" branch. And as the the green blob suggest, we might almost be lumped with classic "reptiles" too (because this definition covers some of our oldest direct ancestors)
            Birds are a small, small sub branch on the right hand of the diagram

      • by Aighearach (97333)

        As far as I know, the most up-to-date evidence suggests that the proper classification of birds is "dinosaurs," and therefore "reptiles."

        That tells us more about you and what you think you know than about classifications.

    • by Randle_Revar (229304) <kelly.clowers@gmail.com> on Thursday September 01, 2011 @09:07AM (#37274224) Homepage Journal

      >even beyond any reasonable doubt of intelligent designers.

      Luckily for them, their doubts are not reasonable in the first place, so this will have little effect.

      • by Jawnn (445279)

        >even beyond any reasonable doubt of intelligent designers.

        Luckily for them, their doubts are not reasonable in the first place, so this will have little effect.

        I beg to differ. In the absence of certainty, doubt is perfectly reasonable. The problem with the intelligent design crowd is that they can't live with that, and prefer to replace doubt with superstition and myth.

        • by Bob-taro (996889)

          >even beyond any reasonable doubt of intelligent designers.

          Luckily for them, their doubts are not reasonable in the first place, so this will have little effect.

          I beg to differ. In the absence of certainty, doubt is perfectly reasonable. The problem with the intelligent design crowd is that they can't live with that, and prefer to replace doubt with superstition and myth.

          If you look at it objectively, the religious accounts are seen by their adherents as history. And the person who says with certainty, "when we have sequenced all these genomes we WILL discover" is technically also engaging in unscientific faith.

          • by Jawnn (445279)

            If you look at it objectively, the religious accounts are seen by their adherents as history.

            Precisely my point. Accepting those "religious accounts" as "history" is irrational. Not that there's anything wrong with that, even. I'm given to an irrational choice from time to time myself, but I try not to let those indulgences affect others. You know, like deliberately making school children ignorant.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          There is no scientific doubt the evolution is true. It's a fact. Just because we don't know all the details, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
          Just like Germs and gravity.

    • Thanks for the link. (Yes, it is much better.) I suspect that we're going to see an exponential increase in the number of genomes that get sequenced. Sorta like exosolar planets... just a few at first, then more and more.

      But I'd say you're a bit optimistic in thinking this will convince the hardcore evolution skeptics. Yes, it will chip away at the fence-sitters, but that "debate" will unfortunately be with us for a good while yet.

      • Intelligent Design says that yeah, ok, something like evolution obviously did happen, but it wasn't an accident, it was a sequence of pre-planned steps by an intelligent designer Whose identity we'll pretend to be open-minded about. Genetic evidence of evolution just shows that He was reusing code and parts from animals He built first instead of magically creating them by fiat. (That doesn't mean that their motivations or methods are actually scientific, of course, but they're mainly trying to explain sci

        • Hm... I don't see how I've misunderstood the ID folks. In my mind, they are among the "fence-sitters" I mentioned. You have described it in much more detail than my short post, but I don't think we disagree on the basics.

          Ultimately I think it's a generational thing. The younger folks tend to be more open to evolution, just as they are more open to equal rights for gays. The main difference between these two issues is that young people tend to personally know more gays than their parents and grandparents, wh

          • I don't think I agree on the generational thing - I'm from the boomer generation, and got a decent amount of evolution and genetics education in high school, though over the last few decades evolution has become more and more important in biology and genetics (even if it doesn't always show up at the high school biology level.) But I'm also from the Northeast, not the South.

            Also, the hippie generation were into ecology - I'm not sure if city kids get that as much, and more people are in cities these days.

    • Ths story is particularly remarkable that when we have successfully sequenced the genomes of the entire line of the fish - reptile - bird - mammal evolution then we will finally be able to prove the theory even beyond any reasonable doubt of intelligent designers.

      Oh, you think evidence will change their mind?

      • by Nidi62 (1525137)

        Oh, you think evidence will change their mind?

        You know, I think if God actually did show up and say "No, really guys, I didn't do it, it actually was evolution" they still wouldn't believe in evolution and think god was just testing them.

    • by b0bby (201198)

      The first non-bird species of reptile?

      In fairness, TFA talks about "non-avian reptiles", but I agree that the construction is awkward.

    • by khchung (462899)

      Ths story is particularly remarkable that when we have successfully sequenced the genomes of the entire line of the fish - reptile - bird - mammal evolution then we will finally be able to prove the theory even beyond any reasonable doubt of intelligent designers.

      If someone can believe that some intelligent being created all species, then that someone will also believe that any evidence found for any alternate theory are simply false trails laid down to "test your faith".

      Seriously, anyone with sufficient intelligence to discard intelligence design given enough evidence, would have done so already if he only took the time to review the evidence already found.

  • We now to see how closely the sequence aligns with the Queen of England's genome.
    • How did you get to the Queen? Was it because of the line in the Scientific American article saying that anoles may be atypical and that "It will be illuminating to compare it with more conservative lizards"?

      I'd been thinking of Newt Gingrich, myself.

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        Well, he is a newt (I know, not actually a lizard)

      • It's a reference to David Icke. Not content with his lot as a BBC sports commentator, he declared himself the son of god, and proclaimed that the Queen of England is infact a lizard. Makes sense I guess. Given a choice between people thinking I was insane, or thinking I liked football, I'd go for insane too...
        • Oh, right, that's familiar. (Sorry for the America-centric viewpoint that thinks we have a monopoly on crazy people....)

  • When did we get these?

    • About 160 million years ago. Slashdot should be covering the story some time next week.
    • by Aighearach (97333)

      When did we get these?

      There is no way to know when it was that their ignorance morphed into false knowledge.

      As a logical positivist my take is, since we will never know the depths of their stupidity lets just ignore them and not ask.

  • that have had their genome sequenced.

    Seriously, you couldn't find an article written by someone who reached the second grade* as the link for something that is actually interesting.

    * No really, one of the pages in the crappy 2nd grade activity book the kid did last week (aimed at those entering 2nd grade) was categorizing some animals as either reptile, bird, mammal, or fish.

    • > "that have had their genome sequenced."
      That's chickens and finches. If you look at the underlying scientific papers that get referenced, they're all talking about these being "non-avian species of reptile", because taxonomists currently do treat the birds as a subset of reptiles, and the point they're making is that the reptile genomes that have been sequenced so far have all been birds, and they thought it would be useful to sequence the kinds of reptiles we traditionally think of as reptiles.

    • by Chris Burke (6130)

      Seriously, you couldn't find an article written by someone who reached the second grade* as the link for something that is actually interesting.

      Yeah, or even better, they could have found someone who went beyond a crappy activity book for 2nd graders... oh wait they did!

      But feel free to notify the editors of Nature and the authors of the paper that their usage of "non-avian reptiles" in their abstract [nature.com] is wrong.

      Make sure to cite the activity book so they know this is legit.

  • Researchers have managed to sequence the genes of the green anole lizard, which is the first non-bird species of reptile to have its genome sequenced

    I know my taxonomy knowledge is weak, but... Birds are considered reptiles? I mean, I accept that birds evolved from dinosaurs, but that they are currently considered reptiles? That's new.

    • Yes, actually, it turns out that birds are considered to be a type of dinosaur.
    • The confusion comes from the original article talking about non-avian reptiles, and people (including the submitter) assuming that avian = bird. Birds are descended from a branch of dinosaurs, who we loosely related to reptiles (and they do likely have a shared ancestry)... however, modern birds are NOT reptiles, even though we do have sequence info for historical avian reptiles.

  • ..welcome our new genetically sequenced lizard overloads!

  • I need to get in touch with the British scientists who create Hybrid Human-Animal DNA, so I can be the first Dr. Curt Connors.
  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Thursday September 01, 2011 @09:27AM (#37274368) Homepage

    TFA discusses how having this genome may help us better understand evolution by getting a better picture of how different reptile species diverged and how exactly they diverged from mammals. One of the neatest aspect of this research are the discovery of a large number of transposons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposon [wikipedia.org]. These are segments of DNA which can jump around the genome inserting themselves where they please. They can be disruptive or helpful or just do weird things (in fact they were initially discovered in corn when Barbara McClinctock was trying to figure out what controlled the very strange behavior of corn coloration) . As TFA discusses, some of the same transposons in the lizard genome also exist in humans but many have been tamed and put to productive use.

    Too bad they aren't taking requests for which lizards to sequence. I'd be very interesting in the sequencing of the New Mexico whiptail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico_whiptail [wikipedia.org] in the hope that its weird reproductive behavior might be better understood. The whiptail has evolved to be an all female species. The females reproduce in a way that does shuffle their own genes so that children aren't complete clones. But one really neat detail is that they need to engage in mock sexual behavior in order to reproduce. If they don't hump each other they won't produce eggs. This is has earned them the nickname "lesbian lizards". They are not the only species that has adopted this sort of process but it is very rare, and the whiptail is one of the better understood examples. I would hope that having the full genome might give us more insight into how/why this sort of thing can evolve.

    More pessimistically, there's been very little direct benefit from finding species complete genomes. While the human genome project has provided some benefits most of those benefits have been fairly subtle. It seems that the human genome project has been helpful but not nearly as much as some people predicted. Some of the modern genetic work uses techniques developed during the genome project but much doesn't seem to actually use the human genome project data itself.

    • One of the comments above points to an article in Scientific American which explains the issues better than the business newspaper. That article quotes biologist Susan Evans saying that anoles may be atypical and "It will be illuminating to compare it with more conservative lizards - not to mention representatives of a wider range of reptiles such as snakes, tuatara, crocodiles and turtles." Whiptails might be quite interesting, but they sound like they're definitely atypical.

  • Some of these comments are isomorphic to this review of Richard Dawkin's history of your family tree:

    http://creation.com/review-the-ancestors-tale-richard-dawkins [creation.com]

  • 2: implement it for people having lost a member
    3: profit

  • Following up on their results, the researchers also claim to pinpoint the Gecko lizard's origins to New Zealand.

  • Yes, but (Score:2, Funny)

    by azav (469988)

    How will this tell us what makes up the Republican congressman genome?

    And how we can cure it?

    • by ErikZ (55491) *

      We've already sequenced the human genome.

      Oh.

      OOoooooooooh. I see what you did there.

      To make it easier to kill people in war, you degrade or dehumanize your opponent first.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        To be fair, they do the degrading themselves, the dehumanizing is just wishful thinking.

  • See (for instance):
    http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/hall_tour/spectrum/non_flash_index.html [amnh.org]

    This isn't about an imposed classification, it is about a family tree. Crocodiles are more closely related to birds than either are to snakes. Snakes are more closely related to birds than either are to turtles.

    That is, these guys:
    http://www.wolaver.org/animals/crocodile-plover.jpg [wolaver.org]

    share a *much* more recent common ancestor than these two:
    http://berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2009/02/images/salamander-pgoebeil.jpg [berkeley.edu]
    an

  • This is great! Maybe we can custom design some lizards that eat only cockroaches and bedbugs and are litter box trained.

    Should be a great revenue opportunity,
  • Have the sequenced any incomplete lizards?

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