Even with plenty of fish in the sea, sea dragons stand out from the crowd.
The funky, fabulous fish are bedecked with ruffly leaf-like adornments. Their spines are kinked. They're missing their ribs and their teeth. And the responsibility of pregnancy is taken on by the males.
By sequencing the genomes of two species of sea dragons, University of Oregon (UO) researchers have found genetic clues to the fish's distinctive features: They're missing a key group of genes found in other vertebrates. Those genes help direct the development of the face, teeth and appendages, as well as parts of the nervous system.