26. 08. 2020 Issue 69
Decoding Jellyfish Genomes to Unveil its Ecological Roles and Reproduction Mechanism

Professor Jerome Hui of School of Life Sciences and his team have decoded for the first time the high-quality genomes of Rhopilema esculentum (also known as flame jellyfish) and Sanderia malayensis (also known as Amuska jellyfish), which are commonly found in Asian seawaters.

Rhopilema esculentum (also known as flame jellyfish) Sanderia malayensis (also known as Amuska jellyfish)

Among the many unexpected findings ranging from genome architecture, development, non-coding RNAs, to evolution that the team has identified, the presence of genes encoding sesquiterpenoid hormones, which are typically found in insects to regulate metamorphosis in arthropods, in jellyfish is one of the most surprising. The discovery helps scientist to understand how jellyfish undergo the transition between developmental stages and the change of reproduction method during their lifecycle which also comprises metamorphosis.

Another remarkable finding is the distinct homeobox genes organisation. Most of the homeobox genes, which are important development regulators for the formation of three germ layers in bilaterians like humans, are also found in cnidarians like two-germ layers jellyfish. This showed that cnidarians and bilaterians have undergone divergent pathways since their extinct cnidarian-bilaterian ancestor.

The findings, recently published in top scientific journal Nature Communications, increase our understanding of the ecological roles and reproduction mechanism of jellyfish, and give insight into the genomic characters of their ancestor.

Further reading:
Nong, W., Cao, J., Li, Y., Qu, Z., Sun, J., Swale, T., ... & Bendena, W. (2020). Jellyfish genomes reveal distinct homeobox gene clusters and conservation of small RNA processing. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-11. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16801-9

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Table of Contents
Professor Song Chunshan Appointed Dean of Science
Professor Chu Ming Chung – From Theoretical Physics to Fundamental Physics
ZOOM into Science Online Lectures
Class Acts
Science eCareer Fair 2020
Writing a Successful Resume Workshop
Science Faculty Research Day 2020
Unveiling Novel Mechanism of Neural Progenitor Competence Regulation
Establishing the First Plant-Based Measurement of Ozone in South China Region
Exploring the Many Uses of Metallic Nanocrystals
Organocatalysts – The New Favourite in Green Chemistry
Rethinking Ways to Save Our Earth
Unravelling Full Genome of American Shorthair Domestic Cats
Decoding Jellyfish Genomes to Unveil its Ecological Roles and Reproduction Mechanism
Devising Novel Technology for Generating Biocatalysts for Biodiesel Production
Advocating STEM Education
Life Sciences Graduate Receiving the Otto Hahn Medal and Award

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