A new study may make you squirm if you plan to hit the beach this summer. It presents the draft genomes of three different jellyfish species. An international group of researchers chose to examine jellyfish that present a range of physical traits and level of toxicity (from minor annoyance to deadly) -- jellyfish kill more people per year than the combined forces of sharks, stingrays and sea snakes. The research identified a range of venom related genes, providing the basis for exploring toxin gene evolution in these fascinating animals. The three jellyfish species investigated are the deadly winged box jellyfish (Alatina alata), the anatomically interesting upside-down jellyfish (a true jellyfish: Cassiopea xamachana), and the stalked jellyfish (Calvadosia cruxmelitensis) so named for its stinging organs forming a Maltese Cross pattern. The work here finally provides genome sequences for all five lineages of the Medusozoa (a subphylum of Cnidaria).
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