Molecular biology studies on the coelacanth: a review

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Modisakeng, Keoagile W, Amemiya, Chris T, Dorrington, Rosemary A and Blatch, Gregory ORCID: 0000-0003-0778-8577 (2006) Molecular biology studies on the coelacanth: a review. South African Journal of Science, 102 (9-10). pp. 479-485. ISSN 0038-2353


The discovery of the African coelacanth in 1938 and subsequently the Indonesian coelacanth in 1998 has resulted in a keen interest in molecular studies on the coelacanth. A major focus has been on the phylogenetic position of the coelacanth. Lobe-finned fish such as the coelacanth are thought to be at the base of the evolutionary branch of fish leading to tetrapods. These studies have further aimed to resolve the phylogenetic relationship of extant lobe-finned fish (two coelacanth species and the lungfishes) to vertebrates. Notwithstanding the lack of readily accessible good-quality coelacanth tissue, several major contributions to coelacanth molecular studies and biology have been possible. The mitochondrial genome sequences of both species of the coelacanth suggest that they diverged from one another 40–30 million years ago. A number of large gene families such as the HOX, protocadherin and heat shock protein clusters have been characterized. Furthermore, the recent successful construction of a large-insert (150–200 kilobase) genomic library of the Indonesian coelacanth will prove to be an invaluable tool in both comparative and functional genomics. Here we summarize and evaluate the current status of molecular research, published and databased, for both the African (Latimeria chalumnae) and the Indonesian (Latimeria menadoensis) coelacanth.

Additional Information

Online ISSN: 1996-7489

Item type Article
Subjects Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Historical > FOR Classification > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Historical > FOR Classification > 0604 Genetics
Historical > FOR Classification > 0608 Zoology
Keywords ResPubID22209. coelacanth, molecular biology, latimeriidae, coelacanthiformes, osteichthyes, fossils, phylogeny, vertebrates, molecular genetics, genomics, fish
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