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040313walter

Ron Walter.

STAFF REPORT

The British science journal Nature Genetics has published the sequence and analysis of the platyfish genome, with Texas State Professor Ron Walter as one of the lead authors.

The work represents the first genome sequence of a poeciliid fish and provides a potential model for cancer research as well as insights into evolutionary adaptation in this freshwater fish as well as.

Walter, director of the Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Texas State, shared first-lead author credit with Manfred Schartl of the University of Würzburg.

The authors use the sequencing of the platyfish genome to model the evolution of numerous traits, including a live bearing reproductive mode, pigmentation patterns, cancer and behavioral traits. They identify a gene implicated in both pigmentation patterning and melanoma development in the platyfish.

The authors also find evidence for selection of genes associated with viviparity -–the development of the embryo inside the body of the mother, eventually leading to a live birth. They also identify selective retention of duplicate genes implicated in cognition during the evolution of teleost fish, suggesting a model for the evolution of behavioral complexity in fish.

The Xiphophorus Genetic Stock Center has additional resources and information on the X. maculatus genome available online at www.xiphophorus.txstate.edu/research/macgenome.html.

The research work was supported by U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and Office of Research Infrastructure Programs (ORIP), Division of Comparative Medicine grants (including an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act supplement), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, VolkswagenStiftung and by the Agence Nationale de Recherche.

The paper is available for review at www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ng.2604.html.

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