Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you will not see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We present a draft genome sequence of the platypus, Ornithorhynchus anatinus. This monotreme exhibits a fascinating combination of reptilian and mammalian characters. For example, platypuses have a coat of fur adapted to an aquatic lifestyle; platypus females lactate, yet lay eggs; and males are equipped with venom similar to that of reptiles. Analysis of the first monotreme genome aligned these features with genetic innovations. We find that reptile and platypus venom proteins have been co-opted independently from the same gene families; milk protein genes are conserved despite platypuses laying eggs; and immune gene family expansions are directly related to platypus biology. Expansions of protein, non-protein-coding RNA and microRNA families, as well as repeat elements, are identified. Sequencing of this genome now provides a valuable resource for deep mammalian comparative analyses, as well as for monotreme biology and conservation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





175 - 183


Animals, Base Composition, Dentition, Evolution, Molecular, Female, Genome, Genomic Imprinting, Humans, Immunity, Male, Mammals, MicroRNAs, Milk Proteins, Phylogeny, Platypus, Receptors, Odorant, Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid, Reptiles, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Spermatozoa, Venoms, Zona Pellucida