Sometimes considered the world’s strangest animal, the Australian platypus has a variety of bizarre features including the development of milk, the appearance of venomous spurs, and the fact that it has two X chromosomes. In a new study, an international team of researchers led by the University of Copenhagen have revealed detailed insights into the special genome of the platypus.
It lays eggs, but nurses its young, has a venomous spur, is toothless, has webbed feet, fur that glows and has 10 sex chromosomes.
Since European settlers began to establish inland settlements in Australia in the late 17th century, the intriguing, duck-billed, semi-aquatic mammal has mystified scientists.
New research is still being conducted on how the platypus was able to evolve into the unique creature it is today.
Their perception of the effect has been improved.
For the first time, an international community of researchers have mapped the full genome of the platypus.
The scientific research was published in the journal Nature.
New genetic information has provided a response to how the platypus’s special characteristics came to be.
At the same time this study help us understand what other mammals are like, including us humans.
It holds the key to why we and other eutherian mammals evolved to be animals that give birth to live young instead of being egg-laying animals,” explains Professor Guojie Zhang of the Department of Biology.
The platypus belongs to an ancient group of mammals known as the monotremes which precede all modern mammals.
The platypus to the order class Mammalia the.
Genetically, the species is a combination of rodents, birds, and reptiles.
It has retained most of its ancestral features which probably make it a successful species that can adapt to its climate.
It lays eggs, sweats milk and does not have teeth.
One of the platypus’ most peculiar features is that it not only lays eggs, but also has mammary glands that it uses to feed its babies, not through nipples, but through milk – sweat which is expelled via glands.
In the process of human evolution, the three vitellogenin genes were lost, which are essential for the development of egg yolks.
Chickens, on the other hand, have all three of those characteristics.
The study reveals that the platypus still bears one of these three vitellogenin genes, even though the two additional genes no longer exist.
Thanks to the existence of one gene, the platypus will continue to reproduce.
This is because it is less dependent on proteolytic cleavage of yolk proteins in platypus young than in birds and reptiles, because platypuses produce milk for their young.
In all other mammals, the gene for vitellogenin is replaced by milk protein gene, which is responsible for the production of casein protein, a major milk ingredient.
The new study shows the milk from the platypus is very similar to the milk of pigs, humans and other mammals.
This shows us that milk production in all extant mammalian species originated from a common ancestor that lived more than 170 million years ago – alongside early dinosaurs in the Jurassic period.
Another common characteristic of the platypus is that it is toothless, unlike all other mammals.
Compared to its ancestors who were toothed, the modern platypus has specialized tooth-like structures that help digest food.
The analysis suggests that the platypus lost its teeth around 120 million years ago, during what is known as the Late Devonian extinction event.
Only animal with X and Y chromosomes.
A special characteristic of platypuses studied by researchers is the mechanisms that decide sex.
Both humans and all other mammals on Earth possess two sex chromosomes that decide gender- XX for females and XY for males.
Monotremes and their duck-billed relatives, however, have 10 sex chromosomes, all of which have a Y and X pair.
Thanks to full genome sequencing, a.