Surprises never stop when you study monocots, the taxonomic arrangement consisting of only two animals, the platypus and echidna. Narrating the many strange qualities of these creatures is a metaphor in science coverage, and almost impossible to avoid, as they are mammals that lay eggs and milk thistle, among other things. Strange features.
But perhaps the easiest way to analyze the astounding evolutionary success of monomers is to jump directly into their DNA. A team of 40 researchers from Australia, China, Japan, Denmark and the United States did exactly that in a recent review of monotremes genomes. Their findings Published in the journal Nature.
A first draft and sequence analysis of the platypus genome was performed in 2008. The latest study includes a high-quality update of this sequence and the first ant genome (for some reason, echidna is always second behind the platypus). Interestingly, monotremes are located midway between oocytes and an ovum, an indication of where the embryos develop, in the eggs or in the parent’s body. This is reflected neither here nor there in the protein dependencies of the animals.
“During the short incubation period of eggs, they preserve one of the three main egg proteins that are used to make chicken yolks,” said Marilyn Renfrey, an animal scientist at the University of Melbourne and a co-author of the study, in a statement. Press, “But after hatching, both platypuses and echidnas have a complex milk formula like other mammals to support their young during their long nursing period.”
Monotremes are a peculiar branch of the Tree of Life, and they help bridge gaps in our understanding when animals with particular traits separate from one another.
“In fact, the platypus is a mammal, but genetically speaking, it’s a mixture of mammals, birds and reptiles,” said Goji Zhang, a biologist at the University of Copenhagen and co-author of the study, in a press release. “They have preserved many of the original characteristics of their ancestors, which may contribute to their success in adapting to the environment in which they live.”
Animals need this extra reinforcement. Caused Australian bushfires last year Platypus Tracking Efforts It becomes complicated. (The residents were rescued and sent back to the wilderness this summer). The presence of the echidna genome sequence will allow the genetic management of equally threatened species. After all, we can’t allow these shiny and strange creatures to follow the path of the Tasmanian Tigers and the Dodo.