‘When you’re losing a tenth of the population a year, you have to do something more urgent …’
FRISCO — A high-tech DNA analysis of ivory from illegally killed elephants could help track and capture poachers. After sampling tons of ivory associated with large-scale trafficking, University of Washington biologist Sam Wasser says the ivory comes largely from just two areas, one each for the forest and savanna elephants. The findings are published June 18 in the journal Science.
“Africa is a huge continent, and poaching is occurring everywhere. When you look at it that way it seems like a daunting task to tackle this problem,” Wasser said. “But when you look at large ivory seizures, which represent 70 percent of illegal ivory by weight, you get a different picture.” Continue reading “DNA study pinpoints elephant poaching hotspots”→
New research suggests all modern cows can be traced back to a small herd of domesticated aurochs in the Near East
By Summit Voice
If you’ve ever wondered why most cows look basically the same, a team of French, German and British researchers may have the answer.
After studying DNA extracted from the bones of domestic cattle excavated in Iranian archaeological sites, the scientists said all cattle are descended from as few as 80 animals that were domesticated from wild ox in the Near East some 10,500 years ago. The sites that were studied date to not long after the invention of farming and are in the region where cattle were first domesticated.
The team examined how small differences in the DNA sequences of those ancient cattle, as well as cattle living today, could have arisen given different population histories. Using computer simulations they found that the DNA differences could only have arisen if a small number of animals, approximately 80, were domesticated from wild ox (aurochs). Continue reading “Study traces genetic origins of cattle”→
Research sheds new light on human evolution and will help with gorilla conservation
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — For the first time, scientists have been able to compare the genomes of all four living great apes — humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans — after completing the genome sequence for the gorilla – the last genus of the living great apes to have its genome decoded.
Researchers announced the completion of the genome process last week, confirming that chimpanzee are our closest living relatives, but they also said that much of the human genome more closely resembles the gorilla than it does the chimpanzee genome.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado law enforcement officials will start swabbing every felony suspect for DNA samples under a new state law that took effect. Oct. 1.
Law enforcement officials hope the DNA sampling will help prevent violent crime and assist in solving a number of unsolved crimes in the state. DNA analysis has also been used numerous times in the exoneration of innocent individuals charged with or convicted of crimes.