Genome project reveals findings for 25 species

The vaquita’s genome shows reason for hope in conserving the endangered porpoise.
Credit: Paula Olson/NOAA

An effort to read the genome of every vertebrate in the world has released its first results, with near-complete genomes for 25 species, including the greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum), Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) and platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). The results from the Vertebrate Genome Project appear in a new study in the journal Nature. Researcher say the sequences produced important findings, including bats that have lost immunity-related genes, which could explain their ability to tolerate viruses like the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. Researchers also found that endangered vaquita porpoises (Phocoena sinus) have been purging harmful mutations for millennia, which may offer hope in conserving them.

The team’s next goal is to finish sequencing 260 species’ genomes across all vertebrate orders.

Read the study here.