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

March 24, 2013

March 25, 2013, Shenzhen, China - 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.

Shenkai 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."
-end-
About BGI

BGI was founded in Beijing, China, in 1999 with the mission to become a premier scientific partner for the global research community. The goal of BGI is to make leading-edge genomic science highly accessible, which it achieves through its investment in infrastructure, leveraging the best available technology, economies of scale, and expert bioinformatics resources. BGI, which includes both private non-profit genomic research institutes and sequencing application commercial units, and its affiliates, BGI Americas, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and BGI Europe, headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, have established partnerships and collaborations with leading academic and government research institutions as well as global biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, supporting a variety of disease, agricultural, environmental, and related applications.

BGI has a proven track record of excellence, delivering results with high efficiency and accuracy for innovative, high-profile research: research that has generated over 200 publications in top-tier journals such as Nature and Science. BGI's many accomplishments include: sequencing one percent of the human genome for the International Human Genome Project, contributing 10 percent to the International Human HapMap Project, carrying out research to combat SARS and the 2011 German deadly E. coli outbreak, playing a key role in the Sino-British Chicken Genome Project, and completing the sequence of the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, the potato genome, and, more recently, the human Gut Metagenome, as well as a significant proportion of the genomes for the1000 Genomes Project.

For more information, please visit http://www.genomics.cn

Contact Information


Bicheng Yang, Ph.D. Public Communication Officer BGI +86-755-82639701 yangbicheng@genomics.cnhttp://www.genomics.cn

BGI Shenzhen

Related Genome Sequencing Articles from Brightsurf:

Tracking the SARS-CoV-2 virus with genome sequencing
Dirk Dittmer, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at the UNC School of Medicine, is tracking the virus that causes COVID-19 by sequencing the genome of virus samples collected from diagnostic testing.

Genome sequencing accelerates cancer detection
Recent cancer studies have shown that genomic mutations leading to cancer can occur years, or even decades, before a patient is diagnosed.

Whole genome sequencing reveals genetic structural secrets of schizophrenia
UNC School of Medicine scientists have conducted the largest-ever whole genome sequencing study of schizophrenia to provide a more complete picture of the role the human genome plays in this disease.

Using whole-genome sequencing for early identification and containment of AMR pathogens
A study published today examines the evolutionary and epidemiologic history of an epidemic strain of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) -- called LAM4/KZN.

Whole genome sequencing could help save pumas from inbreeding
The first complete genetic sequences of individual mountain lions point the way to better conservation strategies for saving threatened populations of the wild animals.

Researchers move beyond sequencing and create a 3D genome
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have taken whole genome sequencing to the next level by creating a 3D map of the genome to better understand development and disease.

Clinical utility of rapid whole genome sequencing in neonates with seizures
Clinical utility of rWGS in the evaluation of neonatal seizures.

Viral genome sequencing in the heart of a Lassa outbreak
The first researchers to deploy a mobile nanopore sequencing technology to evaluate viral genomics at the height of a Lassa virus outbreak in 2018 now report their results.

New era for blood transfusions through genome sequencing
In a new study, investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as well as from the New York Blood Center have leveraged the MedSeq Project -- the first randomized trial of whole genome sequencing in healthy adults -- to develop and validate a computer program that can comprehensively and cost-effectively determine differences in individuals' blood types with more than 99 percent accuracy.

Does genome sequencing increase downstream costs?
The MedSeq Project, led by investigators at Brigham Women's Hospital, is the first randomized trial to provide whole genome sequencing to both presumably healthy patients as well as those with a known cardiology issue.

Read More: Genome Sequencing News and Genome Sequencing Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.