The genomic zoo

By Rebecca Priestley In Science

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15th September, 2012
‘The tuatara is a bizarre animal,” says University of Otago biology professor Neil Gemmell. The only living representative of an ancient order of reptiles, Sphenodon punctatus can function happily with a body temperature as low as 5°C. The gender of hatchlings depends on the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. And although tuatara look like lizards, they share some aspects of their physiology with turtles and crocodiles. But it’s more than a biological curiosity. “The tuatara is a linchpin in vertebrate evolution,” says Gemmell. “It seems to have remained relatively ...

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