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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to pass on this very important Pigeon Genetics Project message, which I recieved from my good friend, Steven van Breemen, from Winning Magazine.


Dear readers of Winning Magazine,

Winning Magazine has been approached to send the below information to its readers worldwide in order to find as many pigeon fanciers as possible to cooperate in this very important project for our sport. Please feel free to pass this email on to all your pigeon friends.

Best regards,

Steven van Breemen.

Below the email from Elissa:

I am an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Michael Shapiro's lab. I am currently working on a project to to study genetic variation in pigeons using modern, DNA-based techniques. We have received crucial assistance from Kyle Christensen (president) and members of the UtahPigeon Club. I am hoping that you and the members of your club might be able to help us as well.We are soliciting donations of feathers from as many different pigeon breeds as possible so that we can establish a large sample database for DNA analysis. Our initial analysis will give us new information about which breeds are most closely related to each other genetically, and potentially give us valuable information about the origins of breeds whose histories are not well understood. The next step in this project will be to track down the DNA-level changes that are responsible for variability in different traits (for example, color, beak size, feather pattern, crop size, rolling/tumbling, etc.). This is a long-term project, and the DNA database is a vital early step in its success.
I was wondering if perhaps you could help me by asking your members for feather samples or providing me with a way of reaching a large number of fanciers in the United States and internationally. I have contact some known pigeon clubs, but this has been a slow process. I am open to any ideas that you might have. Below I have included the flyer with the information that we are sending out to try to generate interest.

WHY STUDY PIGEON GENETICS?

Pigeons show a staggering amount of variation within a single species. In fact, as Charles Darwin noted, the striking differences between different breeds within this species approaches the magnitude of differences usually seen between completely different species of birds. Ever since the time pigeons were domesticated at least 6500 years ago, breeders have selected for dramatic differences in many traits in well over 300 recognized breeds. We are interested in learning more about the genes that control color diversity in pigeons, as well as other differences in skeletal structure, physiology, and behavior. We will do this by using genetic techniques that are similar to the methods used in humans to track down the genes responsible for susceptibility to cancers and other genetic diseases.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

DNA samples

In order to get started, we will need a large number of DNA samples from as many different breeds as possible. We will extract DNA from feathers. We are asking you to help with this project by sending feather samples to us through the mail. We will provide you with addressed and stamped envelopes.

The ideal feather sample would be: (1) as large as possible (tail, wing , or large body feathers), (2) freshly plucked, (3) and contain 5 or more feathers per bird. It is critical that feather samples from different individual birds stay in separate envelopes.

One of our first tasks is to see which breeds have the most genetic information in common. This will give us a good idea about which breeds are related to each other, and possibly allow us to trace the ancestry of breeds whose origins are not well understood. Thus far, we have worked closely with the Utah Pigeon Club to gather over 200 DNA samples from over 30 different breeds. We need to dramatically increase the number of birds and breeds in our study for it to be successful.

If you would like to donate feather samples to be included in this project, please contact us at the phone number or email address below. We will provide envelopes and instructions for mailing.

STAYING INVOLVED

We hope this study will benefit the pigeon hobbyist community as well. Our work will us help understand the history of different breeds, and potentially allow genetic testing for relationships among individual birds and breeds. The Utah Pigeon Club will host the NPA Grand National in Salt Lake City in January of 2010. We will be attending this show and will be happy to provide updates on our project and answer any questions that you might have. If you have any questions before that time, please feel free to contact us at the email address listed below.

Thank you for your interest and assistance!

Contact information:

For envelopes and instructions to mail feather samples:

Elissa Mulroy: [email protected]

Shapiro lab website: http://www.biology.utah.edu/shapiro/

Thanks and I hope to hear from you,

Elissa Mulroy
Pigeon Genetics Project
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am still 135 emails behind, so I'm not surprised that someone may have beat me to it. Although I would think far fewer would see it under doves and genetics. The "real" DNA we are looking for is Racing Pigeons.....:rolleyes:. And no one really knows this Elissa gal. So without the endorcement of Steven van Breemeen, I didn't think it would get much attention.
 

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Wow! Sounds VERY interesting, Warren!

Sure would like to know what results are obtained...down the road!

Hope Elissa gets all the samples she needs! 'Bout time someone did something like this!!

Many thanks for posting!

Love and Hugs
Shi :)
 

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These kinds of projects should have been sponsored by AU or IF long ago. Reading what Elissa said, this project may be too big. I did undergraduate research as well to get my degree in biology and I must say that her project can extend to get her PhD. The second goal of her project of " track down the DNA-level changes that are responsible for variability in different traits" is in itself a project. Her initial goal I am sure can be accomplished in her undergraduate years. I wish her well. This project will benefit us all.
 
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