Evolution

Darwinian Genomics

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Science  01 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6123, pp. 1012
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6123.1012-a
CREDIT: PUTNEYMARK/FLICKR

The finches of the Galapagos archipelago helped Darwin articulate the theory of evolution by natural selection as he identified differences in bird phenotypes, especially size and beak shape, across the island chain. Rands et al. provide a draft sequence of the genome of the large ground finch and compared it to other previously sequenced genomes, including its closest sequenced relative—the zebra finch. Comparative genomics was used to establish a gene set from the sequences and identified selective constraint in both of the genomes. Analyses of positive selection identified genes, including those that likely have a role in reproduction, that are under selection in both zebra finches and large ground finches. In addition, genes specific to the ground finch were identified, including those that have demonstrated effects on beak phenotypes. This study lays the groundwork for further analysis of the genomic changes that accompany speciation and adaptation.

BMC Genomics 14, 95 (2013).

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