The genome of the Tiger pufferfish, Takifugu rubripes, has now hit the draft stage, scientists have announced.
Molecular biologists have been working on the genome of this pufferfish species for many years and they now only need to fill in a few gaps before the entire genome has been completely sequenced.
Although it may seem slightly odd for scientists to be spending their time working on a relatively obscure species of fish, there is a good reason for using Takifugu rubripes for genome studies: compared to many other species, it has a very small genome, making it relatively simple to work on.
The draft status for the genome means that most of the data on its DNA has been collected and coordinated by computational biologists, but work still needs to be done to tie everything together.
The latest breakthrough has been the first genetic linkage map for this pufferfish species which shows the positions of the genes on the fish genome.
Pufferfish, and most other species, share many features of their genomes with humans and other organisms, so comparative genomic studies like this one can help us to better understand processes in other organisms.
For more details see: Kai W, Kikuchi K, Fujita M, Suetake H, Fujiwara A, Yoshiura Y, Ototake M, Venkatesh B, Miyaki K, Suzuki Y (2005) - Genetics. 2005 Jun 21;
A genetic linkage map for the tiger pufferfish, Takifugu rubripes.