Animal Code: Our Favorite Genomes [LiveScience 2012-05-30]
Credit: Wikimedia Commons user Thomas
Marsupials versus mammals
Marsupials, our mammalian brethren, are found mostly in Australia and New Guinea. They have many weird features that separate them from other mammals, including a very short pregnancy, after which they shelter their very immature offspring in a pouch.
Sequences of the kangaroo and other marsupials have shed light on how these features have developed after the placental mammal-marsupial split 150 million years ago. The genome sequencing of an opossum and a small kangaroo species called the tammar wallaby show that the group may have evolved in South America, not Australia.
Analysis of the tammar wallaby genome indicates that large areas of the marsupial genome are similar to the genome of normal, placental mammals.