Opossum first sequenced marsupial genome


Monodelphis domestica, gray short-tailed opossum

From Animal science blog:

Marsupial Genome Sequenced

A report in Nature has announced that the first marsupial genome has been sequenced.

Tarjei Mikkelsen of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass and team sequenced the 3,475 megabase genome of the South American grey short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica.

The opossum genome appears to contain about 20,000 protein-coding genes, the authors found, and the vast majority of these are also found in placental mammals. Apparently most of the differences between marsupial and placental mammals comes from junk. ahem. non-coding sequences, not proteins. It provides more evidence the main difference between you and other animals is how your genes are regulated not the proteins you possess.

See also here.

Species diversity in the Monodelphis brevicaudata complex (Didelphimorphia: Didelphidae) inferred from molecular and morphological data, with the description of a new species: here.

Leucistic North American opossum: here.

Genomes of Neanderthals and mammoths: here.

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6 thoughts on “Opossum first sequenced marsupial genome

  1. Possum breaks record with year-long snooze

    * 13 October 2007

    A POSSUM has set an enviable record for doing absolutely nothing. After stuffing itself full of food in a laboratory, one curled up and hibernated for a record 367 days.

    Some mammals, such as ground squirrels, hibernate for up to six months through winter, while a western jumping mouse (Zapus princeps) once hibernated for 320 days in a lab. That record has now been smashed by an Australian eastern pygmy possum (Cercartetus nanus) in Fritz Geiser’s lab at the University of New England in Armidale, New South Wales (Naturwissenschaften, DOI: 10.1007/s00114-007-0274-7).

    It used just one-fourtieth of the energy it does while awake, which probably allows the possum to survive lean times in Australia’s unpredictable climate, says Geiser.

    From issue 2625 of New Scientist magazine, 13 October 2007, page 20

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