Platypus or Platypuses are so weird because of their genetics. Scientists have found out about the evolutionary mosaic, which shows that the DNA of Platypuses has parts from birds, mammals, and reptiles. Platypuses are a lot of fun to look at. They are mammals, animals with mammary glands, sweat glands, and hair at least at one point in their lives.
However, platypuses also have a strong beak, like a duck. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, these animals still lay eggs and feed their babies through the pores of their skin because they don’t have breasts. Because platypuses still have some features that make them look like reptiles, like claws and poisonous spurs, they also have hair that glows in the dark.
People already knew that these animals had parts of birds, mammals, and reptiles in their DNA from 2008. If you want to read about how this happened, a January 6 study from Nature can help. The genomes of several animals, including humans, have already been mapped out in full. Platypus and echidnas are two Australian mammals that lay eggs and are very weird. We now have the first genomic map of both of them.
People who study genetics say that platypuses are the only animals in the world that have all 10 of the sex chromosomes. Only two humans and nine echidnas live together, so we are the only ones. Even though many weird things were going on, the researchers were able to find a connection between the shape of his chromosomes and humans, which could be a missing link in human evolution.
I don’t get it. Why are platypuses so weird?
There are three other groups of mammals: placentals, which have the placenta, which is an organ that makes gas exchanges between the fetus and the mother; marsupials, which have an atrophied placenta and need to end the puppies’ development in a pouch; and monotremes, which include the platypus and echidna.
These three groups are all part of the mammalian group. They also lay eggs and feed their babies milk after they’re born. It was even shown in the study that platypuses lost the genes that make food in eggs. When a puppy is born, its mother gives it milk to drink.
Research has shown that monotremes have a different set of genes. The part comes from mammals, but other parts come from birds and reptiles. Analyses also found that the monotremes and the two other mammals had different evolutionary histories. In platypuses, genetic genes that make haptoglobin, lactation, and chemical sense receptors differ.
This showed that monotremes had an ancestor with the same number of chromosomes in a ring shape. Today, many people use the most common structures: XX for women and XY for males. This arrangement has changed over time, and it may have led to these structures: In general, the researchers could see that platypuses have more in common with ducks than with most other mammals, which is why they were interested in them.
The genome of the platypus is as bizarre as its appearance
It’s a part reptile, part mammal, and part bird – and it’s completely different. European scientists thought a dead platypus was so outlandish that it had to be a fake two centuries ago. Now, the genetic secrets of Australia’s one have been made public. Like some reptiles, his eggs and venom are made. They also have furry coats and feed their young milk.
They are called monotremes, and they only have one close relative, the echidna, a close cousin. Primitive mammals like the platypus aren’t as advanced as humans, so studying their genome can help biologists figure out how mammals came to be. It can also allow them to reason out how the platypus’s body works.
Wesley Warren, who works at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, led a team of scientists worldwide who sequenced the platypus genome. As expected, they found a mix of old reptile features and newer mammalian ones. As well as that, there were also a few surprises.
Biologists already knew tha the has an odd number of sex chromosomes. The team found that the gene sequences determining sex are more like birds than mammals. There is a platypus genome, but it doesn’t seem to do with sex.
In other words, it must have changed after he split from our common ancestor, which took place around about 166 million years ago. There had already been a lot of progress made in milk production by that time. he has the same number of genes for milk proteins as a cow or a person. Team member Jenny Graves says that milk must have been around a long time before we could give birth to live babies.
Males deliver his toxin with a barbed spur on their heel. The team also looked into the genes for the toxin. A snake’s poison, for example, is made from natural neurotransmitters and other proteins, but it seems to have come from two different animal groups.
The smell of water
“It looks like he had the same set of genes but used them in very different ways,” says Graves. It was yet another surprise for the team. They found that the platypus has more of a certain type of vomeronasal receptor than any other animal does. A platypus researcher at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, says that their sense of smell is important when looking for food under the water. People didn’t expect that, he says.
Graves says that the draught genome sequence should also help the platypus figure out who it is. It isn’t the head of a duck sewn to the tail of a beaver anymore, but there was still a lot of debate about where it fits in and if it was a weird animal. It’s clear now that it broke off from the branch of the genome that led to both placentals and marsupials. Finally, we know where it fits in.
He lays eggs and takes care of its babies
The platypus is part of a group of mammals called monotremes, which were around for a long time before any modern-day mammals. Indeed, the platypus is a member of the Mammalia class. But its DNA is a mix of mammals, birds, and reptiles. It has kept many of its ancestors’ original features, which may have helped it adapt to the environment where it lives, Zhang says.
Another interesting thing about him is that while it lays eggs, it also has mammary glands that help feed its babies, not through nipples, but with milk that it sweats from its body. A gene called vitellogenin is important for making egg yolk. Humans lost all three of these genes; each is important for making egg yolk. It isn’t true for chickens. They have all three at the same time.
The new study published in Nature shows that platypuses still have one of these three genes, even though they lost the other two about 130 million years ago. This allows them to keep laying eggs. he doesn’t need to make yolk proteins as much as birds and reptiles because it makes milk for its young.
Other mammals have casein genes instead of vitellogenin genes, which works. Casein genes make us able to make casein protein, which is a big part of milk from mammals. New research shows that he has casein genes and that their milk is made up of the same things as milk from humans, cows, and other mammals.
“It tells us that the genes that make milk in all living mammals came from a common ancestor that lived more than 170 million years ago, along with the first dinosaurs in the Jurassic period,” Zhang says. Instead of teeth, they have two horn plates to mash their food, like a blender. he lost its teeth about 120 million years ago when four of the eight genes that make teeth went away.