Written by dberger On the

Famine-era herbarium specimens of potato plants enabled researchers to sequence the genome of Phytophthora infestans, the blight which essentially wiped out Irish "lumper" potatoes between 1845 and 1852. They found that a little known—and now extinct—strain of the blight caused the devastation, not a more common strain as once believed.

Written by dberger On the

The genome of the common rock pigeon helped researchers solve the mystery of the pigeon’s showy crest, identifying the genetic basis for that notable tuft of feathers. Surveys of an additional 69 uncrested birds from 57 breeds and 61 crested birds from 22 breeds confirmed the gene’s role in generating eye-catching crowns.

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