Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Genome Sequenced

Wild Turkey / USFWS Photo

This fall, scientists sequenced most of the turkey's genome.
In a study published in the journal PLoS ONE in September, a team of scientists estimated that the genome of the domestic turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, has 1.1 giga base pairs, about a third the size of the human genome, and bears a close resemblance to its relative, the chicken, whose genome was completed in 2004....

But there's more sequencing to be done before we have the genetic key to that distinctive turkey taste. Researchers would need to compare sequences from multiple individuals and multiple regions along the ladder-shaped molecule to understand the genetic basis for turkey taste, he said.
Sequencing the turkey genome is a priority because of the species's economic significance as a food animal. Presumably it will help elucidate some evolutionary relationships as well, though the LiveScience article emphasizes the agricultural applications to the exclusion of anything else.

If you want to read the original journal article, you can find it here. It is in PLoS Biology rather than PLoS ONE.