Platypus genome unravels mysteries of mammalian evolution

Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - 14:14 in Biology & Nature

Genome Research is publishing several papers related to analyses of the duck-billed platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) genome sequence. The place of (egg-laying) monotremes, such as the platypus, in mammalian evolutionary history has remained controversial. Now, researchers are finding that the distinctive anatomical and physiological properties of the platypus are reflected in the newly sequenced platypus genome. Through comparative genomics, the platypus genome is providing remarkable insights into the evolution of venom components, the sex-determination system, testicular descent, and small RNA pathways. Primary research reports describing these novel insights will appear online May 8, concurrent with publication of the platypus genome sequence report in the journal Nature.

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