Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Penguins With Roving Eyes

Penguins aren't as monogamous as they've been thought to be, leading zookeepers to use DNA testing to work out bloodlines for their breeding programs, the New York Times reports.

Researchers from Utah Valley University recently reported in Zoo Biology that they sequenced the genomes of 19 Gentoo penguins living at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. They found that while the familial relationships that had been established by observing the penguins were largely reflected by what the genetic analysis found, they also uncovered differences. The genetic analysis revealed that one penguin had two offspring with another penguin who was not his pair-bonded mate.

"Most species that we think of as monogamous, including our very own species, we know that there's always an asterisk beside that," senior author Eric Domyan from Utah Valley tells the Times. "It's very rare to find monogamy in any species where there's 100 percent fidelity to one's mate. I expected that to be the case with penguins as well."

This, the Times adds, has implications for penguin breeding programs that aim to keep the population as genetically diverse as possible and has led the zookeepers there to keep a closer eye on mating pairs.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.