Lamprey Research Unlocks Secrets of Vertebrate Evolution

The work of biology professor James Langeland, as part of a large international consortium, was published in the journal Nature Genetics, one of the top 10 science journals worldwide.

Langeland has been part of the consortium working on sequencing and elucidating the genome of the sea lamprey (the simplest of living vertebrates and a species on which Langeland has worked for 16 years).

The title of the article is “Sequencing of the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) genome provides insights into vertebrate evolution.” The paper is the first presentation of lamprey whole-genome sequence and assembly. Lampreys represent an ancient vertebrate lineage that diverged from our own some 500 millions year ago. Scientists have studied the sea lamprey genome to gain insights into the ancestry of vertebrate genomes, the underlying principles of vertebrate biology, and evolutionary events that have shaped the genomes of existing organisms.

Langeland is the Upjohn Professor of Life Sciences at Kalamazoo College.