Genetics

Genomes of a Feather

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Science  20 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5883, pp. 1564-1565
DOI: 10.1126/science.320.5883.1564c

The zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata) belongs to the most populous bird order (the perching birds or Passeriformes) and is having its genome sequenced. Stapley et al. have created a linkage map of the zebra finch and compared it to that of the distantly related chicken (Galliformes). There was extensive synteny, or conservation of genes on the same chromosomes, indicative of a low amount of interchromosomal rearrangement between bird orders. However, a number of intrachromosomal differences were found between the zebra finch, reed warbler (another Passerine), and chicken, especially on the five macrochromosomes, suggesting that gene order is not conserved even among close relatives. A comparison of recombination rates reveals that chickens have high rates relative to other birds whereas reed warblers experience less recombination. — LMZ

Genetics 179, 651 (2008).

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