Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genomes of peregrine and saker falcons throw lights on evolution of a predatory lifestyle

Date:
March 25, 2013
Source:
BGI Shenzhen
Summary:
Researchers have completed the genome sequencing and analysis of two iconic falcons, the peregrine and saker falcons. The work provides an invaluable resource for the deep understanding of the adaptive evolution in raptors and the genetic basis of their wide distribution.

Peregrine falcon.
Credit: SunnyS / Fotolia

In a collaborative study published online in Nature Genetics, researchers from Cardiff University, BGI, International Wildlife Consultants, Ltd., and Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, have completed the genome sequencing and analysis of two iconic falcons, the peregrine (Falco peregrinus) and saker (Falco cherrug). The work provides an invaluable resource for the deep understanding of the adaptive evolution in raptors and the genetic basis of their wide distribution.

Peregrine and saker falcons are widespread, and their unique morphological, physiological and behavioral adaptations make them successful hunters. The peregrine is renowned as the world's fastest animal, and the falcon is the national emblem of United Arab Emirate. In recent decades, peregrine and saker falcons have been listed as endangered due to rapid population declines caused by a wide range of factors including environmental change, overharvesting for falconry, habitat loss and bioaccumulation of pesticides (e.g. DDT, PCBs).

In this study, researchers focused on the evolutionary basis of predatory adaptations underlying peregrine and saker. They conducted whole genome sequencing and assembled the high quality ~1.2 Gb reference genomes for each falcon species. Phylogenic analysis suggested that the two falcon species might diverged 2.1 million years ago.

Comparing with chicken and zebra finch, researchers found the transposable element composition of falcons was most similar to that of zebra finch. Large segmental duplications in falcons are less frequent than that in chicken and zebra finch, and comprise less than 1% of both falcon genomes. They also found that a gene expansion in the olfactory receptor γ-c clade in chicken and zebra finch is not present in falcons, possibly reflecting their reliance on vision for locating prey.

Observing genome-wide rapid evolution for both falcons, chicken, zebra finch and turkey, researchers found that the nervous system, olfaction and sodium ion trans-port have evolved rapidly in falcons, and also the evolutionary novelties in beak development related genes of falcons and saker-unique arid-adaptation related genes.

Shengkai Pan, bioinformatics expert from BGI, said, "The two falcon genomes are the first predatory bird genome published. The data presented in this study will advance our understanding of the adaptive evolution of raptors as well as aid the conservation of endangered falcon species."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BGI Shenzhen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xiangjiang Zhan, Shengkai Pan, Junyi Wang, Andrew Dixon, Jing He, Margit G Muller, Peixiang Ni, Li Hu, Yuan Liu, Haolong Hou, Yuanping Chen, Jinquan Xia, Qiong Luo, Pengwei Xu, Ying Chen, Shengguang Liao, Changchang Cao, Shukun Gao, Zhaobao Wang, Zhen Yue, Guoqing Li, Ye Yin, Nick C Fox, Jun Wang, Michael W Bruford. Peregrine and saker falcon genome sequences provide insights into evolution of a predatory lifestyle. Nature Genetics, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/ng.2588

Cite This Page:

BGI Shenzhen. "Genomes of peregrine and saker falcons throw lights on evolution of a predatory lifestyle." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325111216.htm>.
BGI Shenzhen. (2013, March 25). Genomes of peregrine and saker falcons throw lights on evolution of a predatory lifestyle. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325111216.htm
BGI Shenzhen. "Genomes of peregrine and saker falcons throw lights on evolution of a predatory lifestyle." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325111216.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins