The first genome sequencing project of a mammal that lays eggs is complete and, like the animal itself, the DNA of the platypus is something of a patchwork.
The platypus, found in eastern Australia, including Tasmania, is one of the five species of mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. The four species of echidna are the other mamimals that share this distinction.
The curious discovery of the duck-billed, egg-laying, otter-footed, beaver-tailed, venomous platypus in 1798, comfortable on land and in water, convinced British scientists that it must be a hoax. Sketches of its appearance were thought to be impossible.
But new research proves that the oddness of the platypus' looks isn't just skin-deep. Platypus DNA is an equally cobbled-together array of avian, reptilian and mammalian lineages that may hold clues for human disease prevention.