Par­rot genome re­veals in­sights into longevity

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - SCITE H -

Sci­en­tists have se­quenced the genome of the Blue­fronted Ama­zon par­rot, un­veil­ing new in­sights into longevity and highly de­vel­oped cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties that give the talk­a­tive birds so much in com­mon with hu­mans.

The first com­par­a­tive study of the par­rot genome by re­searchers from the Carnegie Mel­lon Univer­sity in the US will also pro­vide clues about how par­rots learn to vo­calise so well.

By com­par­ing the blue­fronted Ama­zon with 30 other long- and short-lived birds -- in­clud­ing four ad­di­tional par­rot species -- the re­searchers iden­ti­fied a suite of genes pre­vi­ously not known to play a role in longevity that de­serves fur­ther study.

They also iden­ti­fied genes as­so­ci­ated with longevity in fruit flies and worms.

“In many cases, this is the first time we’ve con­nected those genes to longevity in ver­te­brates,” said Mor­gan Wirth­lin, a post-doc­toral fel­low in Carnegie Mel­lon Univer­sity.

Par­rots are known to live up to 90 years in cap­tiv­ity -- a lifes­pan that would be equiv­a­lent to hun­dreds of years for hu­mans, Wirth­lin said.

The genes as­so­ci­ated with longevity in­clude telom­erase, re­spon­si­ble for DNA re­pair of telom­eres (the ends of chro­mo­somes), which are known to shorten with age.

Changes in these DNA re­pair genes can poten

In many cases, this is the first time we’ve con­nected those genes to longevity in ver­te­brates Mor­gan Wirth­lin, Post-doc­toral fel­low

Im­age for rep­re­sen­ta­tion

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