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The wingless flight club

We have some exciting news to share with you. Our paper, in collaboration with a team at Princeton University led by Ricardo Mallarino and Jorge Moreno, is out today in Nature!

In this work, we harness the power of comparative analysis across 15 marsupial genomes coupled with some excellent forward genomics to figure out how marsupials develop patagia - a skin flap between for front and hind paws that allows them to glide. Turns out it is not a superpower from a fallen meteorite (@SugarGliderJM) but from a gene called Emx2! Check out excellent summaries on the research on the Baylor website and on Scientific American. Check out also Ricardo's X writeup.

Thank you to all the excellent collaborators spanning Princeton, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Melbourne, SeaWorld, Houston Zoo, UC Irvine, Cornell and the University of Western Australia. And a special thank you to the museum community of Australia and the Australian Biological Tissue Collection at the South Australian Museum for providing tissue samples.

Visit the assembly pages for the chromosome-length genomes published as part of the work for the common wombat, the ground cuscus, the Eastern grey kangaroo, the Western grey kangaroo, the greater glider, common ringtail possum, golden ringtail possum, green ringtail possum, feathertail glider, Western ringtail possum, feather-tailed possum, coppery ringtail possum and the sugar glider to browse the corresponding interactive contact maps!


Moreno, J.A., Dudchenko, O., Feigin, C.Y. et al. Emx2 underlies the development and evolution of marsupial gliding membranes. Nature (2024).

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