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Predator-Prey Pair to Be Sequenced

Researchers in Canada have announced plans to sequence a famed predator-prey duo, CBC News reports.

For Canada's 150th anniversary, scientists there sequenced the beaver, a national symbol, and were inspired to also sequence a suite of species of significance to Canada through the CanSeq150 project.

"This was just a no-brainer project," lead researcher Stephen Scherer from the Hospital for Sick Children tells CBC News.

The first two to be sequenced for this initiative will be lynx and the snowshoe hare, which CBC News notes are a heavily studied, interdependent system. It adds that researchers could learn from their genomes why, for instance, the lynx has such large paws and how the two species have evolved alongside each other.

The University of Toronto's Rudy Boonstra says he told the project researchers that it made no sense to study the lynx in isolation. "They're tightly linked to each other in terms of their dynamics," he tells CBC News. "So you can ask if the gene sequences that the prey and the predator — the lynx and the snowshoe hare — have, how they've evolved to adapt to one another [and] to conditions of deep snow."