The Longest Neck In The Animal Kingdom Is Thanks To A Handful Of Genes
Giraffes are separated from their okapi cousins by just a few genetic quirks.By Evan Thomas | May 17, 2016
The only thing that separates giraffes from their smaller cousins — besides a lot of vertical space — is a handful of genes.
Scientists have sequenced the giraffe genome for the first time, and they found that the genes responsible for the animals' long necks are also responsible for their unusually strong hearts.
Researchers compared giraffes to okapi, their closest relative, to spot the genetic quirks. More than half of the giraffe's specialized genes control development of its skeletal and cardiovascular systems.