Tarjei S. Mikkelsen, Broad Institute
Matthew J. Wakefield, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
Bronwen Aken, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Chris T. Amemiya, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Jean L. Chang, Broad Institute
Shannon Duke, NC State University
Manuel Garber, Broad Institute
Andrew J. Gentles, Richard M. Lucas Center for Imaging
Leo Goodstadt, University of Oxford
Andreas Heger, University of Oxford
Jerzy Jurka, Genetic Information Research Institute
Michael Kamal, Broad Institute
Evan Mauceli, Broad Institute
Stephen M.J. Searle, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Ted Sharpe, Broad Institute
Michelle L. Baker, The University of New Mexico
Mark A. Batzer, Louisiana State University
Panayiotis V. Benos, University of Pittsburgh
Katherine Belov, The University of Sydney
Michele Clamp, Broad Institute
April Cook, Broad Institute
James Cuff, Broad Institute
Radhika Das, Duke University Medical Center
Lance Davidow, Massachusetts General Hospital
Janine E. Deakin, ANU Research School of Biology
Melissa J. Fazzari, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Jacob L. Glass, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Manfred Grabherr, Broad Institute
John M. Greally, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
Wanjun Gu, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
Timothy A. Hore, ANU Research School of Biology
Gavin A. Huttley, ANU College of Health & Medicine
Michael Kleber, Broad Institute
Randy L. Jirtle, Duke University Medical Center

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We report a high-quality draft of the genome sequence of the grey, short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica). As the first metatherian ('marsupial') species to be sequenced, the opossum provides a unique perspective on the organization and evolution of mammalian genomes. Distinctive features of the opossum chromosomes provide support for recent theories about genome evolution and function, including a strong influence of biased gene conversion on nucleotide sequence composition, and a relationship between chromosomal characteristics and X chromosome inactivation. Comparison of opossum and eutherian genomes also reveals a sharp difference in evolutionary innovation between protein-coding and non-coding functional elements. True innovation in protein-coding genes seems to be relatively rare, with lineage-specific differences being largely due to diversification and rapid turnover in gene families involved in environmental interactions. In contrast, about 20% of eutherian conserved non-coding elements (CNEs) are recent inventions that postdate the divergence of Eutheria and Metatheria. A substantial proportion of these eutherian-specific CNEs arose from sequence inserted by transposable elements, pointing to transposons as a major creative force in the evolution of mammalian gene regulation. ©2007 Nature Publishing Group.

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