Next in line for genome sequencing is the gray short-tailed South American
opossum (Monodelphis domestica). The sequencing endeavor
will be supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute (http://www.nhgri.nih.gov).
Opossums and humans diverged from a common ancestor around 130 million
years ago. Scientists say the opossum's genetic information will be useful
for comparative studies of other mammals, such as mice (diverged from humans
75 million years ago), and nonmammals, such as birds (diverged 300-500 million
Hampton T. Playing Possum. JAMA. 2004;291(16):1951. doi:10.1001/jama.291.16.1951-b