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Genome Sequencing Will Help Conserve The Endangered Kakapo Species

Update Date: Feb 08, 2016 11:32 AM EST

At present, scientists are aiming to sequence the genomes of each living kakapo on earth, says Engadget.

This species is in danger, with just 125 parrots alive today. Being the heaviest parrot species in the world, without the ability to fly, the species' genomes are being sequenced, so that they are able to get back their numbers, even as we get a better penetration into their risk to illnesses.

While one female kakapo's genome has been sequenced, the team will gather DNA from 40 other animals, every one of which will be sequenced by New Zealand Genomics Ltd. It will be completed on a particular day in March.

Success from the team will make the team's victory a first in the sequencing of the genome of an animal population, says Radio New Zealand National.

"The questions we can answer will be limited only by our imagination," said Bruce Robertson, a member of the research team. "As with the human genome project, we'll be mining this for many years to come, and new and novel things will come out of it."

The lifespans of kakapos are very long, with an average life expectancy of 95 years. They pick up their mates after every three to five years. The success of the project might get the species expanding and multiplying again. The reduction in their numbers takes us back to the time when European and Polynesian colonizers brought some predators, making them open to risk due to their lives on the ground.

Researchers are funding their project through crowdfunding, aiming to generate $45,000 that can help to keep the study going.

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