This week Nature publishes the genome of amphioxus. So we’re bringing you a song.
Why should you care about amphioxus? As Nature’s own Henry Gee says in his News & Views article, “One might be forgiven for never having heard of the amphioxus, a small, vaguely fish-shaped creature, which spends most of its life buried in sand filtering detritus from seawater.”
However, if you read his full article (subscription required) you can find out why this genome is actually of “preternatural importance” as amphioxus is the most basal chordate. You could also check out this week’s Nature Podcast, which also goes into it (pod-page, direct link to MP3).
To celebrate this genome, the Great Beyond would like you all to head over to the Biological Sciences Collegiate Division of the University of Chicago and listen to their official theme: The Amphioxus Song. If it baffles you, head on over to the annotated version.
Lyrics below the fold.
It goes like this, to the tune of ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’:
A fish-like thing appeared among the annelids one day.
It hadn’t any parapods nor setae to display.
It hadn’t any eyes nor jaws, nor ventral nervous cord,
But it had a lot of gill slits and it had a notochord.
It’s a long way from Amphioxus. It’s a long way to us.
It’s a long way from Amphioxus to the meanest human cuss.
Well, it’s goodbye to fins and gill slits, and it’s welcome lungs and hair!
It’s a long, long way from Amphioxus, but we all came from there.
Previously on Songs about Science
Image: Nipam Patel and Nicholas Putnam.