New researcher solves ‘monster larva’ mystery

One of the University’s newest researchers published a report Monday that solved a deep sea mystery that has eluded scientists for nearly 200 years.

Keith Crandall, a biology professor and founding director of GW’s new Computational Biology Institute, led a team of researchers to crack the DNA code of the so-called “monster larva” that fishermen often find in the guts of tuna.

“It’s been a bit of a race, really,” Crandall said.

The mystery grew out of the huge differences – like those between a caterpillar and a butterfly, Crandall said – between the appearances of the larva and the deep-sea shrimp that Crandall discovered was the adult form of the species.

The discovery drew international headlines Tuesday.

Vice President for Research Leo Chalupa called computational biology a top research priority when he arrived at GW in 2009.

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