establish a platypus family history and kinship in a level of detail not previously sampled.
'We have described the first population-scale, whole-genome sequencing study of the platypus,' said Dr. Peter Donnelly from Oxford. 'Our analyses provide insights into the population structure and levels of diversity in this species not previously possible and estimate the relatedness between individuals.'
The study also estimated that the platypus population most likely last shared a common ancestor nearly 1 million years ago.
Dr. Jaime Gongora, from the University of Sydney, said the deepest branch on the population tree separated three separate groups: the samples from Tasmania (an island to the south of Australia that separated from the mainland around 12,000 years ago); those from north Queensland (in the far north); and the remaining samples, which are from central Queensland and New South Wales.
'We think it is most likely that there were three ancestral populations (Tasmania, North Queensland and North New South Wales/Central Queensland) which all coalesced around the same time, about 800KYA,' said Dr. Gongora.