Here's a fun fact I bet you didn't know- scientists have been working on sequencing the genome of domesticated turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, since 2008. As of today, this project is almost complete (95%). The drive behind learning more about turkey genetics is to improve traits in the birds we raise to eat. Understanding more about turkey genetics could prevent some of the problems, such as poor immune response, skeletal issues and heart trouble, that have risen recently from the over-doing it with genetic selection.
Researchers recently published a paper explaining this project and its benefits in the journal Poultry Science. Understanding the turkey genome more precisely will help identify better ways to raise healthier birds and provide economic benefits for farmers.
When you are sitting back digesting your Thanksgiving dinner, why not gather up the kids and learn about where your food came from? I am always surprised at how much we don't realize about what we put in our bodies every day! It is a long journey from farm and factory to plate. Or perhaps you're up for a rousing debate with a less informed relative on the age old myth that turkey makes you sleepy? Regardless of your conversation, I hope you have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving!
Post updated: 11/7/15
- Poultry Science Association: "Turkey Genome Project is Providing an Important Tool for Poultry Industry and Basic Research"
- Poultry Science: "Applying Next Generation Sequencing To Solve Poultry Problems..." (Full Text)
- Scientific American: "Does Turkey Make You Sleepy? Stop blaming the bird for your turkey daze."
- Kid's Health: "Does Eating Turkey Make Me Sleepy?"
- National Agriculture in the Classroom: Kid Zone
- National Agriculture in the Classroom: Teacher Center
- USDA Animal Improvement Programs Laboratory: Kid's Corner
- National Gardening Association's Kids Gardening site
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