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Platypus Looks Strange on the Inside, Too
NY Times ^ | May 8, 2008 | JOHN NOBLE WILFORD

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 Thursday’s 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 ...


TOPICS: Australia/New Zealand; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Technical
KEYWORDS: biology; evolution; genetics; genomics; godsgravesglyphs; platypus
A platypus baby, or puggle, being held before being transferred back to its burrow at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia.(Greg Wood/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images)


Peter Arnold/BIOS
A swimming platypus.
A Gene Map for the Cute Side of the Family

Genome analysis of the platypus reveals unique signatures of evolution

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)

1 posted on 05/18/2008 6:38:58 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem
Outside a dog, a book is man's best friend.

Inside a dog, it's too hard to read.

2 posted on 05/18/2008 6:49:14 PM PDT by Alex Murphy ("Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" -- Galatians 4:16)
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To: neverdem

I have always thought that the platypus was God’s way of showing his sense of humor.


3 posted on 05/18/2008 6:51:52 PM PDT by doc1019 (I was taught to respect my elders, but it's getting harder to find one.)
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To: Alex Murphy

Journey to the inside of a platypus.


4 posted on 05/18/2008 7:04:17 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Voting CONSERVATIVE in memory of 5 children killed by illegals 2/17/08 and 2/19/ 08)
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To: neverdem

Upon sequencing the platypus’ DNA, geneticists were astounded to find within its genetic code the phrase “LOL! J/K LOVE, GOD”.


5 posted on 05/18/2008 7:25:37 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: neverdem
"The divergence occurred some 166 million years ago from primitive ancestors combining features of both mammals and reptiles."

So..., the duckbill, webfeet, egg-laying, and venom-spouting all arose quickly and together at 166MYA?

6 posted on 05/18/2008 7:30:55 PM PDT by cookcounty (Obama reach across the aisle? He's so far to the left, he'll need a roadmap to FIND the aisle.)
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To: neverdem

But is it Kosher to eat?


7 posted on 05/18/2008 7:31:00 PM PDT by Unknowing (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: cookcounty
So..., the duckbill, webfeet, egg-laying, and venom-spouting all arose quickly and together at 166MYA?

No.

8 posted on 05/18/2008 7:47:46 PM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: Unknowing
Image hosted by Photobucket.com $10bucks says it DON'T taste like chicken...
9 posted on 05/18/2008 7:57:21 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist ©®)
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To: Chode
"$10bucks says it DON'T taste like chicken..."

If'n it did, it'd be called a Chickenbill Platypus, wouldn't it?

10 posted on 05/18/2008 8:05:20 PM PDT by NicknamedBob ("Global Warming!" -- You keep saying that! I do not think it means what you think it means ...)
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To: Chode

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?


11 posted on 05/18/2008 8:10:47 PM PDT by Unknowing (Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.)
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To: Unknowing
Image hosted by Photobucket.com prolly tastes fishy AND gamey...
12 posted on 05/18/2008 8:42:14 PM PDT by Chode (American Hedonist ©®)
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To: doc1019

I thought that was what explained nipples on men.


13 posted on 05/18/2008 8:51:22 PM PDT by Nik Naym (If Republicans are your problem, Democrats aren't the answer!)
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To: B-Chan

Something mated with something else, that mated with something else, that mated with something else, that mated with...


14 posted on 05/18/2008 8:51:48 PM PDT by mtg
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To: neverdem

It sounds something like a McNamara ‘do everything’ requirement for the TFX.


15 posted on 05/18/2008 9:04:44 PM PDT by valkyry1
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To: mtg

This whole tread is outragiously funny … so funny, I’m 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.


16 posted on 05/18/2008 9:05:21 PM PDT by doc1019 (I was taught to respect my elders, but it's getting harder to find one.)
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To: neverdem

17 posted on 05/18/2008 9:07:33 PM PDT by blam
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To: Nik Naym

Yes, yes, yes … another example of God’s sense of humor. LOL!


18 posted on 05/18/2008 9:08:42 PM PDT by doc1019 (I was taught to respect my elders, but it's getting harder to find one.)
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To: neverdem
Platypus Genome Is As Weird As It Looks


19 posted on 05/18/2008 9:09:52 PM PDT by blam
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To: neverdem

Platypus Fighting

20 posted on 05/18/2008 9:12:20 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

LOL!


21 posted on 05/18/2008 9:15:40 PM PDT by neverdem (I'm praying for a Divine Intervention.)
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To: neverdem
We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place
(Animals)
22 posted on 05/18/2008 9:22:57 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam

Oooh! Pretty fur. It, along with several of its good friends, would make a nice coat.


23 posted on 05/18/2008 9:37:15 PM PDT by mountainbunny
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To: mountainbunny; blam
"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!

24 posted on 05/18/2008 9:56:28 PM PDT by NicknamedBob ("Global Warming!" -- You keep saying that! I do not think it means what you think it means ...)
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To: neverdem
Likely doubtful, but I wonder if one could be tamed and trained.

It would be funny to have an attack platypus.
25 posted on 05/18/2008 10:52:12 PM PDT by Uncle Ivan (Thompson Conservative)
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To: NicknamedBob

Ha!


26 posted on 05/18/2008 10:52:59 PM PDT by mountainbunny
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To: neverdem

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.


27 posted on 05/18/2008 11:04:57 PM PDT by fr_freak (So foul a sky clears not without a storm.)
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To: doc1019; DollyCali
I have always thought that the platypus was God’s way of showing his sense of humor.

-—<>-—<>-—<>-—<>-—<>-—

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.

28 posted on 05/19/2008 1:17:11 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: doc1019; Nik Naym
Yes, yes, yes … another example of God’s sense of humor. LOL!

The Platypus might not agree

29 posted on 05/19/2008 7:53:29 PM PDT by valkyry1
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To: blam; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1ofmanyfree; 21twelve; 24Karet; 3AngelaD; 49th; ...

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Thanks neverdem.

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30 posted on 05/19/2008 9:48:27 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_______________________Profile updated Monday, April 28, 2008)
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To: fr_freak

How Gary-Larson-esque.


31 posted on 05/19/2008 10:05:11 PM PDT by Chaguito
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To: Unknowing

It cheweth not the cud, nor cloveth the foot. Ergo NOT Kosher.


32 posted on 05/20/2008 5:18:55 AM PDT by CholeraJoe (Jihad is all fun and games until a predator turns you into a greasy glop.)
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