Sunday, April 18, 2021
How tuatara live so long and can withstand cool weather
article written by Jake Buehler outlines how tuatara are able to live in low temperatures. The tuatara has a huge genome, about 5 gigabases in length. This is about two-thirds bigger an humans and is unusually large for a reptile. Lizard and snake genomes are usually around 2 gigabases. Researchers estimate that the tuatara and their living ancestors came from snakes and lizards about 250 million years ago. This means that they predate even the oldest dinosaurs. Tuatara have many genes involved in producing selenoproteins, which help against aging and cellular deterioration. They also have an unusually high number of TRP genes which are involved in making proteins tied to temperature sensitivity and regulating body temperature. These genes may be the reason tuatara can tolerate these cool temperatures.