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Methods Mol Biol. 2011;770:457-73. doi: 10.1007/978-1-61779-210-6_18.

Reproductive and developmental manipulation of the marsupial, the tammar wallaby Macropus eugenii.

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Department of Zoology, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.


The developing marsupial is an ideal animal for use in biomedical research. Marsupials are mammals that have been separated from eutherian mammals for over 130-140 million years. They all deliver altricial young that complete their growth and development after birth usually in a pouch, but not all marsupials have a pouch. Their lactation changes dynamically throughout the period of pouch life, and the mother controls their growth via the production of milk that is tailor-made for each stage of development. The tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii, has been the experimental marsupial of choice for over five decades, as it is highly amendable to handling and breeds well in captivity. The tammar is especially interesting because it has both a lactational and a seasonal control of its reproduction and embryonic diapause that normally lasts 11 months. Standard molecular techniques can be used for most manipulations in marsupials. However, there are several special techniques for treating the young for experimental surgery and for organ culture that we detail below.

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