Sea urchin genome

Nature and Science must have some kind of agreement. Last week was the Nature honey bee genome special, this week is the Science sea urchine genome special.

Sequencing was apparently difficult due to high heterozygosity. The current sequence is a high-quality draft but is a mosaic of two haplotypes. However, it’s good enough to estimate genome size (814 Mbp) and identify genes (~ 23 300). A separate paper is an impressive study of the complete sea urchin embryo transcriptome.

I have to admit that I hadn’t realised the significance of the sea urchin as a model organism. My experience of them is limited to (1) trying not to crawl over them when diving and (2) wondering if they taste any good whilst watching Iron Chef.

2 thoughts on “Sea urchin genome

  1. A local (Vancouver) upscale seafood restaurant used to serve S. purpuratus raw, but they took it off the menu before I had a chance to try it. I think they just sliced the top off and gave you a little spoon.

  2. That’s exactly how we used to eat them when I was growing up in Cyprus. Wash the grit out and dribble a little lemon juice on, right after you’ve plucked it from the water.

    Naturally, as the coastal Mediterranean became more polluted, this became a bad idea. You can still get it in good sushi places round the world, though.

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