Scientists to sequence genes of poisonous fish

The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO — A poisonous
Friday October 27, 2000

SAN FRANCISCO — A poisonous puffer fish, considered a dining delicacy in Japan, may hold the key to sequencing the human genome. 

An international consortium of scientists will attempt to sequence the genome of the Fugu in less than six months, and hope that information speeds similar work on human genetic makeup. 

Researchers at the U.S. Energy Department’s Joint Genome Institute, who announced the plan Thursday, said the Fugu genome contains less “junk” DNA to sort through, making the process of finding and controlling the genes an easier task. 

“This genetic information from a distantly related vertebrate will help us read the book of human life with new understanding and knowledge,” Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said in a statement. 

The research involves scientists in the United States, Britain and Singapore. 

The compactness of the Fugu genome makes it a cost-efficient model to study, researchers said. Fugu lack certain sequences of mammalian genes. 

Virus-like invaders into the human genome bypassed or apparently were warded away from the Fugu’s evolution.