Wired magazine posted an article a couple of days ago stating that “the kangaroo’s twisted marsupial family tree is now in order thanks to jumping genes”.
Now by jumping genes we don’t mean the genes that help make the kangaroo jump.
Rather, jumping genes are genes that reproduce then insert themselves into the chromosomes at new locations. As a result, these jumping genes create mutations in the DNA that can then go on to create new branches of family trees.
The Wired article explains that as a result of DNA analysis, researchers have been able to identify that Marsupials (defined as those animals that raise their live-born young in protective pouches) from Australia, including the kangaroo, split off from their South American ancestors some 130 Million years ago as a result of jumping gene mutations.
Don’t think this isn’t relevant to you, though.
Research done in this field leads us closer to a better understanding of us, as humans.
With DNA profiling getting cheaper all the time, we may only be a few short years away from being able to gain a much better understanding of our own jumping genes and why and how our current family physical traits were defined.