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“Living Fossil”? Maybe. Tuatara Genome Is Now Sequenced and Published

Paul Nelson
Photo credit: KeresH / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

Often referred to as “living fossils” (although this is a subject of much controversy), the tuatara is a fascinating taxon endemic to New Zealand. Nature has published its newly sequenced genome as open access: “The tuatara genome reveals ancient features of amniote evolution.”

The tuatara genome is 5GB, making it enormous relative to other vertebrates — and full of surprises. BTW, tuataras can live a LONG time (up to a hundred years or more), so if you see one, make sure he or she receives the senior discount and preferred seating on the aisle.