Friday's Findings - October 2 2020

Release Date:

Hawaii Avian Genomics: Searching the Genomic ‘Haystack’ for Genes Associated with Disease Immunity

Date: October 2, 2020 from 2-2:30 p.m. eastern time

Speakers: Eben Paxton, USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

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Call-in Option: 1 202-640-1187
Conference ID: 387 327 121#


Hawaii akepa in hand

(Credit: USGS. )

Summary:  Avian malaria in Hawaii, an introduced disease vectored by non-native mosquitoes, has led to the extinction or population decline of many native Hawaiian birds. Avian malaria is lethal to most Hawaiian birds, but a few species have developed resistance to the disease and can persist in disease hot zones. Identifying the genes that allow those birds to survive malaria will provide invaluable information on how they are adapting to the threat and provide insight into conservation strategies to prevent additional extinctions. But finding those genes is a grand scientific challenge. The National Science Foundation is funding a diverse team of researchers from US Geological Survey, Smithsonian Institute, and academia to sample DNA from bird populations across the Hawaiian archepelago, genotype sampled individuals, and identify genes associated with increased survival.

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