How Skippy got his hop: Kangaroo genome is sequenced
The tammar wallaby is the latest of 130 species for which the genome has been sequenced.
Sun, Aug 21 2011 at 12:03 PM
PARIS — An international team of researchers on Aug. 19 said they had sequenced the first genome of a kangaroo, a project aimed at pinpointing the genes that give the marsupial its remarkable abilities to hop and smell.
The DNA code of the tammar wallaby is presented in Genome Biology, published by British-based open-access science publishers BioMed Central.
The pint-sized 'roo measures only 45 centimeters (18 inches) from head to tailtip and has long intrigued biologists.
It has a 12-month gestation of which 11 months is a period of suspended animation in the womb. At birth, the young weigh only half a gram, and spend nine months in the mother's pouch for protection as they grow.
The wallaby joins more than other 130 organisms for which the genome has been sequenced.
They include humans, the chimpanzee, dog, rat, mouse and rabbit, as well as valuable crops, fungus and the fruit fly, a standard model for lab research.
Copyright 2011 AFP Global Edition