Maintenance of ancestral complexity and non-metazoan genes in two basal cnidarians

Trends Genet. 2005 Dec;21(12):633-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2005.09.007. Epub 2005 Oct 13.


Cnidarians are among the simplest extant animals; however EST analyses reveal that they have a remarkably high level of genetic complexity. In this article, we show that the full diversity of metazoan signaling pathways is represented in this phylum, as are antagonists previously known only in chordates. Many of the cnidarian ESTs match genes previously known only in non-animal kingdoms. At least some of these represent ancient genes lost by all bilaterians examined so far, rather than genes gained by recent lateral gene transfer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthozoa / genetics*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Genes, Duplicate
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • universal stress protein A, Bacteria