Scientists have outlined the genome of the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, finding intriguing secrets behind the impressive speed and strength these cold-blooded predators muster by ratcheting up their metabolism to mammal-like levels.
Researchers stated they pinpointed essential genetic adaptations that may underpin the tenaciousness of those lizards that inhabit a number of Indonesian islands together with Komodo and bring down prey as large as a water buffalo with a venomous bite.
Komodo dragons reach as much as about 10 feet (3 meters) long, possess curved and serrated teeth, a yellow forked tongue, sturdy limbs, and a long tail.
“That is an apex predator living on isolated islands, and it’s completely gigantic. It’s just an awesome animal,” mentioned Benoit Bruneau, director of the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Illness, affiliated with the California University, San Francisco, one of the senior authors of the research printed within the journal.
“Reptiles are sort of like a playground for evolution. There’s a lot of diversity in size and type and behavior and their physiology,” Bruneau added.
The crew sequenced the genome utilizing blood samples of two Komodo dragons housed at Zoo Atlanta, named Slasher and Rinca.
The researchers found genetic adaptations involving the function of the mitochondria, the ability generators of cells that are crucial in governing the perform of cardiac and other muscles, which will amplify the lizard’s aerobic capacity.