Monday, August 22, 2011

Newly sequenced DNA - how the kangaroo got its bounce

Researchers accept laid bald the DNA of a kangaroo breed for the aboriginal time.

An all-embracing aggregation of scientists, autograph in the Biomed Central journal, Genome Biology, say they accept alike indentified a gene amenable for the kangaroo's hop.

The accumulation focussed on a baby breed of kangaroo that inhabits islands off Australia's south and western coasts.

The tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii) is alone the third marsupial to accept its genome sequenced.

Making up the leash are the Tasmanian devil and the South American opossum.

The aggregation says the aboriginal kangaroo genome is a anniversary in the abstraction of beastly evolution. The ancestors of kangaroos and added marsupials diverged from added mammals at atomic 130 actor years ago.

Professor Marilyn Renfree of the University of Melbourne, a advance researcher on the project, said: "The tammar wallaby sequencing activity has provided us with abounding possibilities for compassionate how marsupials are altered from us."

Key marsupial traits

Dr Elizabeth Murchison, a marsupial specialist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, declared the abstraction as "a admirable apparatus for belief the change of marsupials, and mammals in general, and an absorbing allotment of assignment attractive at one of Australia's iconic species."

Aside from anecdotic the "hop" gene, the advisers pinpointed the genes amenable for added key marsupial traits.

For example, tammar wallaby adolescent are alone the admeasurement of a atom of rice back born. They absorb the abutting date of their development in their mother's pouch, agriculture on her milk.

The accessory is alien to the mother's anatomy and accordingly the developing beastly comes beneath advance from abounding pathogens. Antibiotics in the mother's milk are key to the adaptation of the offspring.

"It's been a huge project. It's been activity on for about my absolute career. I'm from Australia and it was activity on back I was an undergraduate there 10 years ago.

"It was a actual aboriginal conceived genome activity and it has acquired through assorted altered stages as genome sequencing technologies accept afflicted a lot. The aggregation has acclimatized and kept up and so they accept a huge bulk of data." e.

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