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Photo of multicolored jellyfishes swimming underwater

First Jellyfish Genome Reveals Ancient Beginnings of Complex Body Plan

UC San Diego researchers co-lead moon jelly study with evolutionary and environmental implications

The first in-depth look at the genome of a jellyfish—the moon jelly Aurelia aurita—reveals the origins of this successful survival strategy. The Aurelia genome, published online Dec. 3 in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution and co-led by scientists at the University of California San Diego, indicates early jellyfish recycled existing genes to morph from polyp to medusa. The results suggest animals can radiate into new niches and forms fairly easily.