Most of the genetic difference between marsupials and placental mammals comes from non-coding sequences, not proteins, according to the first marsupial genome sequence, unveiled in this week's Nature. The sequence is of the South American grey short-tailed opossum Monodelphis domestica.The opossum genome "is bound to make the [evolutionary developmental biology] community very happy, because they've been saying all along that it's the regulation of genes that is what's driving the changes that we see in the evolution of animals," David Haussler of the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the research, told The Scientist. "This paper really establishes it on a large scale."The sequence also reveals that X-inactivation works differently in the opossum than in female placental mammals.Led by Tarjei Mikkelsen of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass., the researchers used the whole-genome shotgun method to sequence the genome of a single female...

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