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Carolina parakeet (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Netherlands
Pere Gelabert, Marcela Sandoval-Velasco, Aitor Serres, Marc de Manuel, Pere Renom, Ashot Margaryan, Josefin Stiller, Toni de-Dios, Qi Fang, Shaohong Feng, Santi Mañosa, George Pacheco, Manuel Ferrando-Bernal, Guolin Shi, Fei Hao, Xianqing Chen, Bent Petersen, Remi-André Olsen, Arcadi Navarro, Yuan Deng, Love Dalén, Tomàs Marquès-Bonet, Guojie Zhang, Agostinho Antunes, M. Thomas P. Gilbert & Carles Lalueza-Fox, 2019

Evolutionary history, genomic adaptation to toxic diet, and extinction of the Carolina parakeet

Current Biology. in press.
doi:10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.066

Highlights:

First whole genome from the extinct Carolina parakeet and the sun parakeet

Divergence time between Conuropsis and Aratinga around 3 mya

Evidence for potential adaptation to toxic diet in two extremely conserved proteins

No signs of inbreeding in the Carolina parakeet suggest the extinction was abrupt

Summary; https://www.cell.com/current-biolog...m/retrieve/pii/S0960982219314381?showall=true

As the only endemic neotropical parrot to have recently lived in the northern hemisphere, the Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) was an iconic North American bird. The last surviving specimen died in the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918. The cause of its extinction remains contentious: besides excessive mortality associated to habitat destruction and active hunting, their survival could have been negatively affected by its range having become increasingly patchy or by the exposure to poultry pathogens. In addition, the Carolina parakeet showed a predilection for cockleburs, an herbaceous plant that contains a powerful toxin, carboxyatractyloside, or CAT, which did not seem to affect them but made the birds notoriously toxic to most predators. To explore the demographic history of this bird, we generated the complete genomic sequence of a preserved specimen held in a private collection in Espinelves (Girona, Spain), as well as of a close extant relative, Aratinga solstitialis. We identified two non-synonymous genetic changes in two highly conserved proteins known to interact with CAT that could underlie a specific dietary adaptation to this toxin. Our genomic analyses did not reveal evidence of a dramatic past demographic decline in the Carolina parakeet; also, its genome did not exhibit the long runs of homozygosity that are signals of recent inbreeding and are typically found in endangered species. As such, our results suggest its extinction was an abrupt process and thus likely solely attributable to human causes.

Free pdf: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(19)31438-1.pdf

Enjoy,

Fred
 

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