Whale sharks can help us?

“If you sequence any extreme — the biggest, the smallest, the fastest, the heaviest — all of these animals are interesting to biologists,”said Alistair Dove, director of research and conservation at the Georgia Aquarium

The only facility in North America to house live whale sharks. “They provide sort of the goal posts on where biology of this animal can occur. And so this is a terrific species to study because it’s so much bigger than all the others.”

Dove collaborated with Tim Read, a professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, to sequence the whale shark genome. Dr. Read is a faculty member in the MMG and PBEE programs.

The researchers hope their ongoing analysis of whale shark genetics will lead to a better understanding of the threatened species and, perhaps, humans as well.

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