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Tuna and Great White Shark Share Same 'Super Predator Genes'

Oct 09, 2016 04:20 AM EDT
Great white shark predator
Through examining their muscles, scientists found out that tuna and Lamnid sharks share the same genetic composition.
(Photo : Flckr/Creative Commons/Lwp Kommunikáció)

In spite of the genetic separation between tuna and sharks, it has been found out that both share the same "super predator" genetic traits such as their ability to swim quickly and their fast metabolism.

In a study published in ths journal Genome Biology and Evolution, researchers at Imperial College London found out that tuna fish and Lamnid sharks, where great white sharks belong, are surprisingly similar to each other, particularly with metabolism and the ability to produce energy.

For the study, the researchers examined muscle tissues from six tuna species and mackerel species and three species of Lamnid sharks.

"Lamnid sharks and tuna both have stiff bodies and tails that allow them to swim in bursts. They can also keep their temperature up in colder waters. Both of these things make them more effective predators, allowing them to snatch prey in usually inhospitable waters," study co-author Professor Vincent Savolainen from the Department of Life Sciences at Imperial said in a press release.

As mentioned by Tech Times, tuna is known for swift hunting of mackerels and sardines while white sharks are notorious for being a brisk hunter for anything, from seals to other big fishes.

A gene called glycogenin-1 (GLYG1), which was found in both tuna and Lamnid sharks was linked with metabolism and energy boost the predators need for catching their prey.

The researchers also found out that the genes related to the mentioned trait are actually selected preferably, meaning the traits can be passed on all through the next generations. Through the genetic analysis, they have found out that the species earned the same traits through the process called convergent evolution.

This could aid to understanding the relationship between genetics and physical traits.

"These are simple traits, and ones that have evolved twice. They give us a great point to start really examining the underlying genetics and understanding the relationship to physical traits."

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