Navigation Links
First analysis of platypus genome may impact disease prevention
Date:5/9/2008

BATON ROUGE Theres no doubt about it ... the platypus is one odd duck-billed, egg-laying, lactating mammal. With adaptations like webbed feet to fit its aquatic lifestyle and the poison spurs that decorate males, the platypus represents for many a patchwork of evolutionary development. But LSUs Mark Batzer, along with an international consortium of scientists led by Wes Warren at Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo., has taken this theory to an entirely new level, proving that platypus looks arent only skin-deep their DNA is an equally cobbled-together array of bird, reptile and mammalian lineages.

The consortium conducted the first analysis of platypus DNA in what was the largest platypus population genetics study to date.

Their genomic organization was strange and a little unexpected, said Batzer, Andrew C. Pereboom Alumni Departmental Professor of Biological Sciences at LSU and one of the principle investigators of the project. It appeared much more bird- and reptile-like than mammalian, even though it is indeed classified as a mammal. Its an ancient animal, too, and it has remained relatively primitive and unchanged, both in physical appearance and genetically.

What does this discovery mean for the public? The very real potential for advances in human disease prevention and a better understanding of mammalian evolution.

This is a huge genetic step, said Batzer. Understanding is key. Were learning a lot about mammalian gene regulation and immune systems, which has huge implications for disease susceptibility research. We hope to, in time, identify the underlying causes and methods of disease prevention in humans.

The platypus was chosen as the subject of this study in large part due to its strange appearance, but other selection factors include the species endangered status in its only indigenous habitat, Australia. Platypuses are extremely shy by nature and there has been little success in breeding the animals while in captivity. Researchers hope that some of the clues unearthed in platypus DNA might lead to new directions in conservation efforts.

The international effort to decode the platypus genome was an extremely large-scale undertaking, featuring contributions from dozens of prestigious researchers. Batzer and his team at LSUs Batzer Laboratories along with Arian Smit from the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle and David Ray from West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va. developed a very specific aspect of the project decoding mobile DNA elements, often called jumping genes or even junk DNA.

These mobile elements were once thought to be so small that they had no function, said Batzer. But, in reality, they cause insertions and deletions, which can lead to genetic diseases in humans as well as the creation of new genes and gene families in the genome, which can lead to genetic disease in humans. Because of this, understanding the impact of mobile elements on genome structure is paramount to understanding the function of the genome. In the platypus study, Batzers group was able to pinpoint specific instances of mobile element insertions within the species and determine the timing of each genetic event.

Batzer and several different international consortia have succeeded in sequencing the genomes of several species in the past, most recently that of the rhesus macaque and the first marsupial, a small, South American opossum species.

Each one gives us another piece of the puzzle, which brings us that much closer to answering some of the more pressing questions about gene and genome organization and evolution, Batzer said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mark Batzer
mbatzer@lsu.edu
225-578-7102
Louisiana State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. MXI Security and Communication Intelligence Corporation Team up to Deliver the First Green Portable Security Solution for Financial Institutions
2. Iowa State-ConocoPhillips collaboration advances 26 research projects in first year
3. Scientists find stem cells for the first time in the pituitary
4. First nanoscale image of soil reveals an incredible variety, rich with patterns
5. And the first animal on Earth was a ...
6. First draft of transgenic papaya genome yields many fruits
7. UC biology prof traces his roots to the first Earth Day
8. Research identifies first method for testing, assessing drug treatments for Chagas disease
9. Lincoln Park Zoo launches first-of-its-kind wildlife reintroduction database
10. And the first animal on Earth was a...
11. Geneticist Francis Collins named first recipient of Inamori Ethics Prize at Case Western Reserve
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2017)... Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... 2021 from $8.3 billion in 2016 at a compound ... 2021. Report Includes - An overview of the ... trends, with data from 2015 and 2016, and projections ... Segmentation of the market on the basis of product ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Texas Biomedical Research Institute announced that its ... Schlesinger as the Institute,s new President and CEO. Dr. ... 31, 2017. He is currently the Chair of the Department ... for Microbial Interface Biology at Ohio State University. ... President and CEO of Texas Biomed," said Dr. James ...
(Date:2/1/2017)... BOSTON, Massachusetts , February 1, 2017 ... and events on emerging technology, announces the availability of a new ... Continue Reading ... ... systems in industrial and collaborative robots. Source: IDTechEx Report "Sensors for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/21/2017)... FL (PRWEB) , ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... enables healthcare organizations to build connected digital health applications, announced a partnership with ... enable users to seamlessly connect to many clinical systems while keeping data secure ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... Cancer diagnostics workflow ... joined its executive team to lead the development and commercialization of its Cancer ... improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The CIDT addresses the need for ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... ... manufacturing facility at its headquarters laboratory in Poway, California. Based upon 12 ... of both in-house personnel and consultants, VetStem constructed and validated a state-of-the-art GMP ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... 21, 2017  Lexus, a returning partner of the Amgen ... and exclusive automobile partner of the men,s and women,s events for ... The 2017 Amgen Tour of California will ... of the best professional cycling teams in the world racing from ... four-day Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease TM Women,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: