Thursday, March 06, 2008
TUATARA DNA - SO QUICK TO EVOLVE - FOUND ONLY IN NEW ZEALAND...
Tuatara DNA - so quick to evolve - found only in New Zealand...
Published first On Qassia:
Tuatara are only found in New Zealand. They are apparently very slow growing and reproducing, and have a sluggish metabolism. They are an ancient form of lizard and the oldest living form of wildlife in New Zealand. Tuatara have often been called 'living dinosaurs' and have largely not changed physically over extremely long aeons of evolution going back millions of years.
But they have reportedly broken records for DNA evolution, something that has astonished New Zealand scientists. An analysis of their bones has shown their DNA has evolved faster than any other animal species yet studied.
An evolutionary biologist, Professor David Lambert, at the Massey University based team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, established through study of tuatara DNA that the reptiles have evolved very quickly.
Professor Lambert said recently it had been expected that the tuatara, which did everything else slowly, would therefore evolve slowly too, but the new DNA research questioned such ideas.
Scientists had recovered DNA sequences from the bones of tuatara up to 8750 years old and compared them to modern tuatara blood samples, to establish the speed of the DNA changes in the species.
There will undoubtably be more up to date information released in the near future, which is of great interest to the writer.
Tuatara are not only the oldest living species in NZ, but would rank with some of the oldest in the world.