Genomic sequences of 2 iconic falconry birds - Peregrine and Saker Falcons- successfully decoded

December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Shenzhen, China - A group of scientists from United Kingdom (UK), China and United Arab Emirates (UAE) jointly announced the complete sequencing of peregrine and saker falcons genomes at the 2nd International Festival of Falconry held in Al Ain, UAE. The study is a part of Falcon Genome Project, launched and funded by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) in this January. The results will enable biologists to better study the basic biology and genetics of falcons and provide new insights into understanding the origin and populations of these species.

Two particular species of birds, peregrine and saker falcons, are widespread but heavily exploited birds of prey that exhibit migratory habit and are popular hunting falcons commonly found in the country. In particular, the saker is the national bird of United Arab Emirate. In the past century, the two falcons have been listed as endangered species with population decline, caused by a wide range of factors including migration obstacles, environmental changes, habitat loss, use of pesticides (e.g. DDT, PCBs), among others. In the late 1990s, the peregrine has been successfully removed from the endangered species list through the increased recovery efforts, but the saker is still facing this challenge.

Since this January, researchers from UK, China and UAE have been working together to conduct the genomic studies of peregrine and saker falcons, aiming to identify the genome sequences of the two species and enhance their future conservation to face the unforeseen challenge of the rapid changing environments and human activities. Abu Dhabi's Falcon Hospital (ADFH) provided the blood samples collected from male specimens of peregrine and saker falcons, and BGI were responsible for sequencing these samples on its large-scale next-generation sequencing platforms and producing high-quality data output. The bioinformatics analysis is conducted by the scientists from the School of Biosciences, Cardiff University (UK) and BGI.

Dr. Ning Li, CEO of BGI Europe, said, "The complete genome sequencing of the two falcons will lay a solid scientific foundation for identifying the origin and populations of falcons and accelerating the selective breeding of high-quality varieties. We believe we will make more breakthroughs in this project to help researchers better protect these endangered species."

"This study will open the door to an unparalleled understanding of falcon biology and help us to manage and conserve wild falcon stocks in the future" said Dr Andrew Dixon, Head of Research at International Wildlife Consultants Ltd (IWC).
-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, 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 170 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 German deadly E. coli, 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, have sequenced the human Gut Metagenome, and a significant proportion of the genomes for the1000 Genomes Project. For more information about BGI, please visit http://www.genomics.cn.

Contact Information:

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

BGI Shenzhen

Related Endangered Species Articles from Brightsurf:

After election: making the endangered species act more effective
Following the presidential election, a leading group of scientists are making the case that a 'rule reversal' will not be sufficient to allow the Endangered Species Act to do its job.

Improving the Endangered Species Act requires more than rule reversal
Although species are disappearing at an alarming rate worldwide, the Trump administration recently finalized a series of substantial changes to the regulations that underpin the U.S.

New shark research targets a nearly endangered species
They are some of the most iconic and unique-looking creatures in our oceans.

Preservation of testicular cells to save endangered feline species
A research team at the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) developed a method to isolate and cryopreserve testicular cells.

Endangered species on supermarket shelves
Imagine purchasing products from your local grocer, only to find out that those products are comprised of critically endangered species!

What is an endangered species?
What makes for an endangered species classification isn't always obvious.

In developing nations, national parks could save endangered species
A new study of animal populations inside and outside a protected area in Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park, shows that protecting such an area from human interaction and development preserves not only chimps but many other mammal species.

New mathematical model can help save endangered species
One of the greatest challenges in saving endangered species is to predict if an animal population will die out.

Bioactive novel compounds from endangered tropical plant species
A Japan-based research team led by Kanazawa University has isolated 17 secondary metabolites, including three novel compounds from the valuable endangered tropical plant species Alangium longiflorum.

Newly discovered hummingbird species already critically endangered
In 2017, researchers working in the Ecuadorian Andes stumbled across a previously unknown species of hummingbird -- but as documented in a new study published in The Auk: Ornithological Advances, its small range, specialized habitat, and threats from human activity mean the newly described blue-throated hillstar is likely already critically endangered.

Read More: Endangered Species News and Endangered Species 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.