Why study genomics in the tammar?
Tammars are a good representative of the marsupial mammals. Because they diverged from the line that led to humans and the common laboratory mammals around 150 million years ago, they make an excellent contrast. They give birth, as do all marsupials, to young at a developmental stage equivalent to an early embryo in humans, and undergo the rest of their development in the pouch. THis difference in developmental timing makes them valuable for
the study of development and developmental disorders.
Marsupials have few, relatively large chromosomes (the strings of DNA which hold the genes), which makes some types of genetic analysis much easier than in other mammals. The tammar has 16 chromosomes; humans have 46 and mice have 40.