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Turkey Genome Sequencing: Building a Better Bird

turkey science

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

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