We are not Abalone
We may be at different ends of the food chain but it seems Abalone and humans share a link after all.
Dr Liz O'Brien, who studied parts of the genetic code of the tropical abalone for her PhD thesis, found humans and abalone shared genes that were active in the brain and sensory system.
"When we analyse DNA code, we find incredible genetic similarity between very different animals," Dr O'Brien said.
"Some genes are so wellsuited to the roles they play they have remained unchanged despite millions of years of evolution."
She said such conservation of gene code and expression in animals that had evolved independently for millions of years also indicated an essential function for the genes.
"They are so ideal to the role they play that they have not been altered for millennia," she said.
"It`s amazing to think about how powerful evolution can be. A common starting point gave rise to animals as complex and as different as abalone and humans."
While most people might find looking at DNA sequences far from stimulating, Dr O'Brien said her work was easy to get excited about.
"Not only are they a very easy animal to work with but they are also delicious to eat," she said.
"And the research itself is fascinating as it is coming back to basic science and understanding where we come from and who we are."