Kangaroo genome now sequenced

Photo: An adult tammar wallaby. (Andrew Pask/UConn Photo)

The tammar wallaby is the first Australian marsupial to have its genome sequenced. Researchers were surprised to find out that many of the wallaby genes are similar to those found in humans. Because baby wallabies (aka: joey) develop in a pouch outside the mother's body it is easier to study mammalian development in these animals. Having the genome sequence just makes that research as well as other research on the animals that much more informative. I was surprised to learn how well the wallaby sense of smell is. The baby wallabies have as many as 1500 genes just for olfactory (smell) receptors.

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So how many jumping genes did they find...?!

Any interesting genetic mutations in wallabies that can now help to learn more about similar mutations in other species (i.e., humans)?