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Biotech Science

Platypus Genome Decoded 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-little-bit-of-everything dept.
TaeKwonDood writes "Is it reptile, bird or mammal? Some of each. Does it have venom, lay eggs and lactate? Yes. Upon discovery in 1798, fellow scientists thought it was for an episode of 'Thou hast been Punk'd,' but this Australia native, on home on land and in water, is real and, finally, it gets its own decoded genome. It's no surprise the DNA is as messed up as the critter itself."
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Platypus Genome Decoded

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  • another link (Score:5, Interesting)

    by H0D_G (894033) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @08:47PM (#23332582)
    also reported by the ABC http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/05/08/2238461.htm [abc.net.au] on a personal note, a platypus is really interesting to watch in the wild. it's movement is quite lizardlike.
  • Poisonous (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @09:14PM (#23332760)
    I had just recently learned that they also had poisonous barbs on their back feet. What is surprising that it is one of the most painful venoms on the planet. A gentleman that had been stuck by a platypus had also been struck by shrapnel in World War II.

    He said if he had to choose between the two, it would be the grenade.

    So the cute little bastards are also very dangerous. I still want to pick one up and hug them though.
  • QED (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FlyByPC (841016) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @09:24PM (#23332820) Homepage
    Intelligent Design, meet Platypus.
    ...
    Platypus, meet Intelligent Design.

    Maybe there is a God, maybe not -- but would any sane being *design* something like this??
  • Living fossils (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Guppy (12314) on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @09:37PM (#23332912)
    Interesting indeed... I vaguely recall some debate when sequencing the platypus was proposed, over whether or not it was a worthy use of funding and sequencer time, being that it was not considered a representative of any medically or commercially important organism, or one of the various "model" laboratory organisms.

    Anyway, saw a comment posted as a reply to a Nature article on it which also suggested we take a look at "other 'outlier' organisms, including the echidna, birds like the kiwi or tinamous, tuataras, nautilus, and similar organisms." Sounds like a good idea -- here's hoping we see sequence data from other living fossil [wikipedia.org] organisms.

  • Re:Platypusses (Score:2, Interesting)

    by heptapod (243146) <heptapod@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 07, 2008 @10:41PM (#23333386) Journal
    Actually platypodes and platypuses are acceptable plurals for onithorhynchus anatinus.
  • Re:QED (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Thursday May 08, 2008 @12:11AM (#23334018) Journal
    Actually, no, The Bible is what makes me question God's motives, if that one exists.

    And that's enough to get rid of the Jehovah's Witnesses (yes, they're still around) fast enough that I don't often think too much more deeply about it.

    "Did you know that your god condones rape, genocide, prostitution, and killing your whole family for not believing? Yeah, it's all right there in the Bible. Your book, not mine."

    Conversation fucking over. I win.
  • Re:lactation (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fodi (452415) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @05:26AM (#23335342)
    Umm.. You can:
    http://www.whytraveltofrance.com/2007/06/09/human-breast-milk-cheese-made-in-france/

    Although it can be tricky to make yourself:
    http://www.indrani.net/index.php?q=2006/03/breast_milk_cheese
  • Re:another link (Score:5, Interesting)

    by donscarletti (569232) on Thursday May 08, 2008 @07:26AM (#23335868)

    The male platypus actually has venomous [wikipedia.org] spurs on the back of its hind legs, it hasn't been known to kill humans but can cause local paralysis and greater amounts of pain than the bites of many venomous snakes. There are pretty much no other example of anything like what the male platypus has, the sexual dimorphism of the trait, the fact that it's a spine like a poisonous fish not a tooth like all other venomous terrestrial creatures and of course the fact that it is a mammal (or close to it) of which there are very few examples of venom production(more info here [wikipedia.org]) all make it unique.

    The issue with them is that when people are lucky enough to find one (they are surprisingly common but also very secretive) they generally won't associate them with venom, even if they were taught about it before. They look comical and harmless so they handle them and get stung which I guess is fair enough. Ironically, a wild echidna [wikipedia.org] (a spiky monotreme) is quite safe to touch (you still shouldn't do it, though I admit that I once couldn't resist the temptation during a trip through Tasmania).

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