Navigation Links
The molecular clock of the common buzzard

This news release is available in German.

Be it hibernation or the routes of migratory birds: all animal behaviour that is subject to annual rhythms is controlled by a molecular clock. Although this has been known for a long time, in many cases it is still unclear how far genes are involved in setting this internal clock. Up to now, this also applied to the common buzzard and its migration from parental breeding grounds. Behavioural scientists in Professor Dr. Oliver Krger's team at Bielefeld University's Faculty of Biology have now confirmed that a genetic clock determines when young buzzards leave their parents' territory. The key to these findings were observations from the general public who reported tagged birds to the researchers. The researchers have now published their study in the journal Molecular Ecology.

'There's a buzzard flying there with a label on its wing.' Krger and his colleagues often get phone calls with messages like this. 'However, we are not interested in the tags as such, but the codes that are written on them,' says Krger. 'They are the identity card that our research group gives to every buzzard in the Bielefeld region.' With the help of this code, the behavioural scientists can trace the migrations of individual birds.

Krger's colleague Nayden Chakarov has been wing tagging and ringing buzzards for years as part of his doctoral thesis. The procedure is no problem for the birds, he explains: 'The wing tags don't interfere with flying and the buzzards are already tagged as chicks.' He and his colleagues climb up to buzzard nests not only to tag the young birds but also to take blood from them. This means that a genetic sample is available for every young bird that is ringed. If someone spots the bird later and reports the code on the tag to the researchers, they can use the blood samples to gain matching information on certain genes. Phone calls from lay ornithologists do not just come from Bielefeld and the region in which the birds have been tagged but from as far as Belgium and the Netherlands. The researchers advertise their project with a website in several languages, a leaflet, and in web forums.

'Thanks to the help of numerous birders, we now have enough reports to draw first conclusions,' says Chakarov. For resighted buzzards the team analysed four genes that play a role in the molecular clock. 'We managed to determine an effect of three of these genes,' the biologist explains. 'These allow us to predict the time point when young birds leave their parents' territory.' These same genes code the neurotransmitters which control migratory behaviour in songbirds. Moreover, the same genes may also influence the time of breeding and thereby contribute to adapting to local climate conditions.

In the next few years, Professor Krger's team will be studying whether these genes also help the buzzards to adapt better to climate change. Here as well, the researchers will be depending on sightings of tagged birds. Birdwatchers can send in the codes of buzzards either by telephone (0521/106 2842) or by Email:


Contact: Nayden Chakarov
University of Bielefeld

Related biology news :

1. Cells molecular muscles help them sense and respond to their environments
2. Trovagene Announces Abstracts to be Presented at Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics Conference
3. Recent highlights in Molecular Biology and Evolution
4. Better insight into molecular interactions
5. UC Davis researchers discover molecular target for the bacterial infection brucellosis
6. Scientists discover a molecular switch in cancers of the testis and ovary
7. 3-D molecular syringes
8. Carnegie Mellon researchers develop artificial cells to study molecular crowding and gene expression
9. Molecular discovery puts cancer treatment in a new perspective
10. A molecular map to renewable energy?
11. Mild blast injury causes molecular changes in brain akin to Alzheimer, Pitt team says
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
The molecular clock of the common buzzard
(Date:6/9/2016)... control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, allowing ... are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... YORK , June 2, 2016   The Weather ... is announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers ... by being able to ask questions via voice or text ... Marketers have long sought ... the consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and ...
(Date:5/16/2016)... YORK , May 16, 2016   EyeLock ... solutions, today announced the opening of an IoT Center ... to strengthen and expand the development of embedded iris ... an unprecedented level of convenience and security with unmatched ... authenticate one,s identity aside from DNA. EyeLock,s platform uses ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has signed ... to serve as their official health care provider. ... will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, and ... volunteers, athletes and families. "We are ... and to bring Houston Methodist quality services and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(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. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: