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The Pathway to Genomic Medicine

Author(s): Richard A. Gibbs, PhD

Tammar Wallaby Genome Project

Edited Transcript from “The Pathway to Genomic Medicine,” Richard Gibbs, PhD*
Example number one is this creature here, the Tammar Wallaby, which my friend and colleague, Marilyn Renfree, here is catching. Below, there’s its embryo. And I told a remarkable story, I think at our meeting last week, of how all these offspring are born on the same day of the year—all the members of the species. So that’s one piece of remarkable biology. But the other thing I didn’t talk about is the antibiotic requirements for a creature that essentially does its development in the pouch, rather than in utero.

You know, these are not placental mammals, these are marsupials. So this thing develops most of its early life period outside or in the pouch. So at that time, it has a brother or sister who shares the pouch. So it [female parent] has two teats, one which produces a remarkable range of beginning-to-be-discovered antibiotics that can allow it [offspring] to survive in that period, and another which has other nutritional requirements. So what an opportunity for investigation in reproductive and early life biology.

* Notes in this slide presentation are adapted from the transcript of “The Pathway to Genomic Medicine,” a presentation by Richard Gibbs, PhD, given in August 2007, as part of Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Medicine Grand Rounds Human Genetics Symposium.