An international collaboration of scientists including Baylor College of Medicine has completed the first genome sequence of a myriapod, Strigamia maritima - a member of a group of venomous centipedes that care for their eggs - and uncovered new clues about their biological evolution and unique absence of vision and circadian rhythm. Over 100 researchers from 12 countries completed the project. They published their work online on November 25, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. “This is the first myriapod and the last of the four classes of arthropods to have its genome sequenced,” said Dr. Stephen Richards, Assistant Professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor, where the sequencing of the project was completed, and the corresponding author on the report. “Arthropods are particularly interesting for scientific study because they diverged into more species than any other animal group as they adapted in many ways to conquer the planet. The genome of the myriapod in comparison with previously completed genomes of the other arthropod classes gives us an important view of the evolutionary changes of these exciting species.” Dr. Ariel Chipman, of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, Dr. David Ferrier, of The University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom, and Dr. Michael Akam of the University of Cambridge in the UK, together with Dr. Richards served as key players in the collaboration. “The arthropods have been around for over 500 million years and the relationship between the different groups and early evolution of the species is not really well understood,” said Dr. Chipman, Associate Professor at the Hebrew University.
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