Komodo dragons, Varanus komodoensis on their names, have always been the special snowflake in the world of reptiles. Their cardiovascular system is quite unusual, and they have a unique, compelling sense of smell, which comes in handy when it comes to hunting. It also helps in finding mates. They do it more natural than other lizard species. However, it is only known that the scientists found out why, and it is all thanks to the first-ever sequencing of the Komodo dragon’s genome.
In order to understand why the Komodo dragons are so unique, researchers have spent about eight years to gather data and sequence the genomes of four lizards from four certain zoos. Then, scientists made the evolutionary history of Komodos. They did it by comparing their genomes with three birds, 15 reptiles from the Varanidae family, and four mammals – they include the Chinese crocodile lizard and the Carolina anole.
The lizards can survive the bite of another Komodo dragon
About 201 genes caught the attention of the researchers, including those that appeared to have similar traits as the Komodo dragon. We are talking about their ability to use pheromones to target and ambush prey. Many genes appear to enhance their metabolism, thing that allows them to process carbohydrates faster for the extended periods of hunting and fighting. Scientists also found the genes coding for proteins, that are used in haemostasis. Haemostasis is a blood-clotting process, which allows the lizard to survive bites from other Komodo dragons. Komodo dragons has their saliva, that contains chemicals that make the blood thin. This comes from a report that was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Researchers hope that this new nap of the genome of the Komodo dragon will help them to understand the lizards better, and will also provide a template for more studies about the lizards from the same family.
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