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SC scientists discover new species of sharks

CHARLESTON, SC (AP) — South Carolina scientists have discovered 79 new species of sharks by comparing DNA with existing species.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports Monday that scientists working at the Hollings Marine Laboratory at Fort Johnson say the 79 are in addition to the more than 1,200 species of sharks and rays already known to exist.

Biologist Gavin Naylor says that the new species are so-called “cryptic” species. That means that they are pretty much the same as existing sharks except their DNA does not match exactly.

Naylor is a biologist who works jointly for the College of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina. He says the studies of genetic sequencing might show keys in shark DNA that provide clues as to how organisms evolve.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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