The Komodo dragons are the biggest lizards on the earth. These predators weighing as much as 200 kilos can detect their prey from as much as 7.5 miles away. And though they’re cold-blooded, they’ll ramp up their metabolism to close mammalian levels, which supplies them great speed and endurance. However, researchers have understood little about how the DNA of those remarkable lizards encodes such astounding characteristics.
Now, new research from researchers at the Gladstone Institutes, in in-depth collaboration with scientists at UC San Francisco (UCSF) and Zoo Atlanta, supplies the first high-resolution sequence of the Komodo dragon, as well as insight into how it evolved.
“We began the project 9 years in the past to take a look at how genomes evolve, however, to take action, we wanted the genome sequences first,” stated Gladstone Senior Investigator Benoit Bruneau, Ph.D., a senior creator of the research. “At the time, other teams had sequenced the turtle genome, snake and bird genomes, and the crocodile genome was in process. However, the missing branch was the varanid lizards—the family to which Komodo dragons belong.”I went to Komodo Island years in the past as a tourist, and I saw Komodo dragons in the wild there,” stated Katherine Pollard, Ph.D., a senior investigator and the director of the Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biotechnology, who’s the other senior writer of the research. “I never would have anticipated then that I might in the future work on their genome. We did not actually have a human genome at the moment!”