Two biology assistant professors have completed work on an international effort to sequence the genome of the western painted turtle. Matthew Fujita and Todd Castoe are among 30 co-authors of a Genome Biology article that describes the work. The researchers found that the turtle’s ability to withstand oxygen deprivation and near total freezing of its tissue may be linked to genes common to all vertebrates. Scientists say that learning about common gene networks in vertebrates could help them better understand human disease. The western painted turtle is only the second reptile species to have its genetic information fully mapped.