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In issue 285 -
Sprouting for parrots. By Jamie Gilardi – Executive Director of the World Parrot Trust
In issue 285 -
Parrot Therapy – How to give your birds the best experience. By Caroline Ashbolt
In issue 285 -
What we’re learning from the Healthy Bird Project. The Holistic Parrot by Leslie Moran
In issue 285 -
The good, bad and ugly – Philippine Cockatoo conservation. By David Waugh, Correspondent, Loro Parque Fundación
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Parrot Genomes in the Evolution of Longevity and Cognition

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GrrlScientist explains how the analysis of the genome of an Amazon parrot and 26 other birds reveals that long-lived birds share a large number of similar mutations in genes associated with longevity, larger brains and advanced cognitive abilities, and how parrots evolved new genes associated with learning speech

Dr Morgan Wirthlin, who is an evolutionary neuroscientist and genomicist, and a Postdoctoral Fellow in Computational Biology at Carnegie Mellon University, said, “My dream as a researcher is to discover the processes that have allowed us to evolve complex vocal behaviours, everything from human speech, to dolphin communication, to bird song, parrot imitation, and even the songs of bats.”

Dr Wirthlin was part of a large international team of researchers whose analysis of the genome of an Amazon parrot and 26 other bird species revealed that parrots and other long-lived birds share a large number of similar mutations in genes associated with longevity. Their analysis also identified changes that are similar to those in human genes associated with larger brains and more advanced cognitive abilities, and it also found that parrots evolved new genes associated with learning speech and songs.

 

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