PARIS - An international team of researchers on Friday said they had sequenced the first genome of a kangaroo, a project aimed at pinpointing the genes that give the marsupial its remarkable abilities to hop and smell.
The DNA code of the tammar wallaby is presented in Genome Biology, published by British-based open-access science publishers BioMed Central.
The pint-sized 'roo measures only 18 inches (45 centimeters) from head to tailtip and has long intrigued biologists.
It has a 12-month gestation of which 11 months is a period of suspended animation in the womb. At birth, the young weigh only half a gram, and spend nine months in the mothers pouch for protection as they grow.
The wallaby joins more than other 130 organisms whose genome has been unravelled.
They include humans, the chimpanzee, dog, rat, mouse and rabbit, as well as valuable crops, fungus and the fruit fly, a standard model for lab research.
Image: Tamas / via Flickr