The sequence and analysis of the platyfish genome is published this week in Nature Genetics. The work represents the first genome sequence of a poeciliid fish and provides insights into evolutionary adaptation in this freshwater fish as well as a potential model for cancer research.
Wesley Warren and colleagues report sequencing of the genome of the platyfish. The author s use this as a model to examine the evolution of a number of traits, including a live bearing reproductive mode, pigmentation patterns, cancer and behavioral traits. They identify a gene implicated in both pigmentation patterning and melanoma development in the platyfish. They also find evidence for selection of genes associated with viviparity - the development of the embryo inside the body of the mother, eventually leading to a live birth. In addition, they identify selective retention of duplicate genes implicated in cognition during the evolution of teleost fish, suggesting a model for the evolution of behavioral complexity in fish.