Tag: DNA

DNA study pinpoints elephant poaching hotspots

‘When you’re losing a tenth of the population a year, you have to do something more urgent …’

 IMAGE: A group of elephants socializing. view more Credit: Courtesy of Michael Nichols
New DNA evidence could help slow the slaughter of elephants. Photo courtesy Michael Nichols.

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”

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Study traces genetic origins of cattle

All modern livestock, including these Scottish highland cattle, near Silverthorne, Colorado, may be descended from a small herd of 80 wild ox domesticated in the Near East about 10,000 year ago. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

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”

Genetics: Scientists finish mapping gorilla genome

Researchers finish mapping gorilla genome.

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.

“The gorilla genome is important because it sheds light on the time when our ancestors diverged from our closest evolutionary cousins,” said Aylwyn Scally, of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. “It also lets us explore the similarities and differences between our genes and those of gorilla, the largest living primate,” said Scally, lead author of the paper that announced the findings. Continue reading “Genetics: Scientists finish mapping gorilla genome”

All Colorado felony suspects to be swabbed for DNA

DNA sampling will be a standard part of felony arrests in Colorado starting Oct. 1.

New state law mandates collection of DNA samples

By Summit Voice

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.

The law mandates that the “arresting law enforcement agency shall collect the biological substance sample from the arrested person as part of the booking process.” Continue reading “All Colorado felony suspects to be swabbed for DNA”