Genomic Stability: A Double-Edged Sword for Sharks

Sharks have been populating the oceans for about 400 to 500 million years. While our planet and many of its inhabitants have undergone massive changes several times during this period, this basal group of vertebrates has remained somewhat constant. Their body shape and biology has hardly changed since then. An international research team from Germany, Australia, Sweden, and the USA has now discovered the reason for this. The researchers found that sharks have the lowest mutation rate between generations ever recorded in vertebrates. The study was led and coordinated by the research group of Senior Professor Manfred Schartl, PhD, at the Department of Developmental Biochemistry of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Germany. The work was published on October 19, 2023 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “Low Mutation Rate in Epaulette Sharks Is Consistent with a Slow Rate of Evolution in Sharks.”
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