Navigation Links
Saving the parrots: Texas A&M team sequences genome of endangered macaw birds
Date:5/13/2013

COLLEGE STATION, May 8, 2013 In a groundbreaking move that provides new insight into avian evolution, biology and conservation, researchers at Texas A&M University have successfully sequenced the complete genome of a Scarlet macaw for the first time.

The team was led by Drs. Christopher Seabury and Ian Tizard at the Schubot Exotic Bird Health Center in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M. Their work is published in the current issue of the open access and peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The bird selected for the sequencing was a female named "Neblina" who lives in the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa. Neblina is believed to be from Brazil. She was confiscated during a raid on illegally imported exotic birds by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1995.

Tizard says that a blood sample was taken from Neblina, DNA was extracted for sequencing, and after a series of steps, the sequence of the genome was assembled by Seabury and his team.

"The final analysis showed that there are about one billion DNA bases in the genome, which is about one-third of that found in mammals," Tizard explains. "Birds have much less DNA than mammals primarily because they do not possess nearly as much repetitive DNA."

The final completed genome demonstrates some similarities to that of the chicken. "But there are significant differences at both the genome and biological level," he adds. For example, "Macaws can fly great distances, while chickens can't. In addition, brain development and volume are very different in macaws, which is unsurprising since they are very intelligent birds compared to chickens. Likewise, macaws can live many years, while chickens usually do not, and therefore, our macaw genome sequence may help shed light on the genetic factors that influence longevity and intelligence."

Tizard notes that a Scarlet macaw was selected for the first such sequencing of its type because Texas A&M researchers have been studying the bird for many years. Working primarily at the Tambopata Research Center in Peru, Texas A&M bird experts have been investigating macaw diseases, behavior and genetics.

"We now have the ability to initiate large-scale, genome-wide approaches for population and phylogeography studies," explains Seabury, who is a collaborator of Donald Brightsmith, director of the Tambopata Macaw Research Project in Peru (http://www.macawproject.org/).

Seabury and Brightsmith add that the array of research possibilities regarding the Scarlet Macaw has now been significantly broadened by this research initiative.

Macaws are found in tropical Central and South America, from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. Trapping of the birds for the pet trade, plus loss of habitat due to deforestation in their native lands, has severely decreased their numbers since the 1960s.

There are 23 species of macaws, and some of these have already become extinct while others are endangered.

Macaws can live 50 to 75 years and often outlive their owners.

"They are considered to be among the most intelligent of all birds and also one of the most affectionate it is believed they are sensitive to human emotions," explains Tizard.

"Possessing stunning feathers that are brightly colored, some macaws have a wingspan approaching four feet. They also usually mate for life and can fly as fast as 35 miles per hour."


'/>"/>

Contact: Keith Randall
keith-randall@tamu.edu
979-845-4644
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Conservationists to create blueprint for saving Malaysias elephants
2. Diabetes Management Provider ActiveCare Announces Cost Savings Of Over $4,000 Per Year Per Diabetic Member
3. High-strength material advancements at Wayne State University may lead to new, life-saving steel
4. Low oxygen levels may decrease life-saving protein in spinal muscular atrophy
5. Saving lives: Philanthropists establish $100,000 cancer challenge
6. Health care savings, naturally
7. Civil engineers find savings where the rubber meets the road
8. Saving forests? Take a leaf from insurance industrys book
9. UC research: Saving habitat key to songbirds survival
10. Stocking Florida bass in Texas reservoirs may alter stream systems connected to stocked reservoirs
11. Texas A&M research contributes to improved ultrasound imaging
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited to announce ... By working together, VoiceIt and VoicePass ... and VoicePass take slightly different approaches to voice ... security and usability. ... new partnership. "This marketing and technology ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... today announced a global partnership that will provide ... to use mobile banking and payment services.      ... a key innovation area for financial services, but it also ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016  A new ... make more accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction ... timely, competitively priced and high-value life insurance policies ... screenings. With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing ... lifestyle data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome , ... secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley ... up automation and to advance its drug development efforts, ... new facility. "SVB has been an incredible ... the services a traditional bank would provide," said Dr. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ky. , June 23, 2016 ... two Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement ... placebo-controlled, single and multiple ascending dose studies designed ... pharmacodynamics (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult ... subcutaneously (SC) either as a single dose (ranging ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... (EDC) software, is exhibiting at the Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its ... Annual conference. ClinCapture will also be presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... PUNE, India , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... culture media market research report to its pharmaceuticals ... company profiles, product details and much more. ... market spread across 151 pages, profiling 15 companies ... now available at http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/601420-global-cell-culture-media-industry-2016-market-research-report.html . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: