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Echidna South Stradbroke Island Australia
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Echidna, South Stradbroke Island, Australia

July 25, 2012
This photo of an echidna was taken on South Stradbroke Island in Australia. Scientists long have suspected that the sex chromosome that only males carry, the Y chromosome, is deteriorating, but until now, no one has understood the evolutionary processes that control this chromosome's demise. Now, a pair of Pennsylvania State University scientists, including a National Science Foundation graduate research fellow, has discovered that the Y chromosome is evolving at a rapid rate, resulting in a dramatic loss of genes that eventually could lead to the chromosome's complete disappearance. Credit: Anton Nekrutenko, Penn State University