Skip to comments.Platypus Looks Strange on the Inside, Too
Posted on 05/18/2008 6:38:57 PM PDT by neverdem
If it has a bill and webbed feet like a duck, lays eggs like a bird or a reptile but also produces milk and has a coat of fur like a mammal, what could the genetics of the duck-billed platypus possibly be like? Well, just as peculiar: an amalgam of genes reflecting significant branching and transitions in evolution.
An international scientific team, which announced the first decoding of the platypus genome on Wednesday, said the findings provided many clues to the function and evolution of all mammalian genomes, including that of humans, and should inspire rapid advances in other investigations of mammalian biology and evolution.
The research is described in Thursdays issue of the journal Nature by a group of almost 100 scientists led by Wesley C. Warren, a geneticist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The single subject of the study was a female platypus named Glennie, a resident of Glenrock Station in New South Wales, Australia, whose DNA was collected and analyzed.
The platypus, native to Australia, is so odd that when the first specimens were sent to Europe in the 19th century, scientists suspected a hoax. It was classified as a mammal, one of only two monotremes (echidna is the other) living today that are offshoots of the main mammalian lineage. The divergence occurred some 166 million years ago from primitive ancestors combining features of both mammals and reptiles.
What is unique about the platypus is that it has retained a large overlap between two very different classifications, while later mammals lost the features of reptiles, Dr. Warren said in an interview.
In their investigation of the platypus genetic blueprint, the scientists found that its genome contains about 18,500 genes, similar to other vertebrates and about two-thirds the size of the human genome. The...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
A swimming platypus.
A Gene Map for the Cute Side of the Family
We present a draft genome sequence of the platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus. This monotreme exhibits a fascinating combination of reptilian and mammalian characters. For example, platypuses have a coat of fur adapted to an aquatic lifestyle; platypus females lactate, yet lay eggs; and males are equipped with venom similar to that of reptiles. Analysis of the first monotreme genome aligned these features with genetic innovations. We find that reptile and platypus venom proteins have been co-opted independently from the same gene families; milk protein genes are conserved despite platypuses laying eggs; and immune gene family expansions are directly related to platypus biology. Expansions of protein, non-protein-coding RNA and microRNA families, as well as repeat elements, are identified. Sequencing of this genome now provides a valuable resource for deep mammalian comparative analyses, as well as for monotreme biology and conservation.(abstract)
Inside a dog, it's too hard to read.
I have always thought that the platypus was Gods way of showing his sense of humor.
Journey to the inside of a platypus.
Upon sequencing the platypus’ DNA, geneticists were astounded to find within its genetic code the phrase “LOL! J/K LOVE, GOD”.
So..., the duckbill, webfeet, egg-laying, and venom-spouting all arose quickly and together at 166MYA?
But is it Kosher to eat?
If'n it did, it'd be called a Chickenbill Platypus, wouldn't it?
It’s half bird or dinosaur, so it would be worth ten bucks to find out. Maybe a cross between a chicken (or duck) and a squirrel?
I thought that was what explained nipples on men.
Something mated with something else, that mated with something else, that mated with something else, that mated with...
It sounds something like a McNamara ‘do everything’ requirement for the TFX.
This whole tread is outragiously funny so funny, Im having trouble typing. LOAO! Tears down my face over the humor here. I just have sympathy for the poor Platypus, the joking and laughing notwithstanding.
Yes, yes, yes another example of Gods sense of humor. LOL!
Oooh! Pretty fur. It, along with several of its good friends, would make a nice coat.
I don't think you'd want that bill!
Actually, platypuses (platypi?) were quite normal looking in the early days. They looked pretty much like beavers. But then, one day, the Platypus Supreme Court ruled that restricting marriage to a union between male and female platypuses was unconstitutional. The descent into madness started with male platypuses marrying each other, but eventually some began to turn a lustful eye toward the ducks who inhabited the same waters, and the rest is history.
That is what I always thought, too. So do many others, which is why this thread is so funny. But I got intrigued by the other animal mentioned above, the echidna, which I do not recall hearing of before this: not only an egg-laying mammal, but in addition has no nipples, body temperature only 30C or so, living when the dinosaurs roamed, and able to quite easily outsmart the biologists studying them. I would love to see an echidna train, though I know I never will. Now, I am not sure which of God's creatures I nominate as His most humorous... there have to be dozens in the running, but echidna has to be near the top.
The best description I saw online is from World Wildlife Federation
Wikipedia's, which I find good for pure scientific articles, has a good article about echidnas with some weird complimentary facts included. I'm surprised they didn't include the echidna's very low body temperature, though.
The Platypus might not agree
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It cheweth not the cud, nor cloveth the foot. Ergo NOT Kosher.