Genes can tell a story about the origins of species, researcher says

Two gibbons

Genes, whether from apes or the trees they live in, are the storytellers of the origins of a species, according to a Texas A&M University ecosystem science and management assistant professor in College Station.

Claudio Casola, in his first year at Texas A&M as a forest genomicist, analyzes large molecular data sets — mainly DNA sequences of genomes — to determine patterns of gene evolution.

Casola said genes are DNA strings containing the basic information to build and maintain cells, tissues and essentially the whole organism. And, his interest is in understanding the specific role of each gene and how the genes in different species originated and function – regardless of species.

Recently, his research on DNA was included in articles being published in two different journals, Nature and Nature Genetics. The two articles describe the sequencing and analysis of several primate genomes. The Nature paper concerns gibbons, while the Nature Genetics paper is about the common marmoset, a small South American monkey important to biomedical research.

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