“What’s exciting is the new things we’re learning about animal evolution. For example, sponges have embryos, and having the genome helps us look at how they develop and make specific connections to developmental pathways in other animals. It’s the kind of thing that will lead to a much clearer understanding of what the very first metazoans looked like,” says Rice assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Nicholas Putnam. He joined the research back in 2006, while he was still working at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Joint Genome Institute.
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