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Scientists Try To Map Animal Genes To Save Them From Extinction Down the Line

The project has similarities with the Earth BioGenome Project, which seeks to catalog the genomes for 1.5 million species.

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This undated photo provided by NOAA Fisheries, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows alewives, a species of river herring in North Kingstown, R.I. The federal government's National Marine Fisheries Service is looking at the health of the populations of alewives and blueback herring to see if the little fish should be listed under the Endangered Species Act. VOA

A group of scientists unveiled the first results Thursday of an ambitious effort to map the genes of tens of thousands of animal species, a project they said could help save animals from extinction down the line.

The scientists are working with the Genome 10,000 consortium on the Vertebrate Genomes Project, which is seeking to map the genomes of all 66,000 species of mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish on Earth. Genome 10,000 has members at more than 50 institutions around the globe, and the Vertebrate Genomes Project last year.

The consortium Thursday released the first 15 such maps, ranging from the Canada lynx to the kakapo, a flightless parrot native to New Zealand.

Future conservation

The genome is the entire set of genetic material that is present in an organism. The release of the first sets is “a statement to the world that what we want to accomplish is indeed feasible,” said Harris Lewin, a professor of evolution at University of California, Davis, who is working on the project.

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The work is intriguing because it could inform future conservation efforts of jeopardized species. VOA

“The time has come, but of course it’s only the beginning,” Lewin said.

The work will help inform future conservation of jeopardized species, scientists working on the project said. The first 14 species to be mapped also include the duck-billed platypus, two bat species and the zebra finch. The zebra finch was the one species for which both sexes were mapped, bringing the total to 15.

Sequencing the genome of tens of thousands of animals could easily take 10 years, said Sadye Paez, program director for the project. But giving scientists access to this kind of information could help save rare species because it would give conservationists and biologists a new set of tools, she said.

Paez described the project as an effort to “essentially communicate a library of life.”

Three sequencing hubs

Tanya Lama, a doctoral candidate in environmental conservation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, coordinated the effort to sequence the lynx genome. The wild cat is the subject of debate about its conservation status in the United States, and better understanding of genetics can better protect its future, Lama said.

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Genome 10,000 has members at more than 50 institutions around the globe, and the Vertebrate Genomes Project last year. Pixabay

“It’s going to help us plan for the future, help us generate tools for monitoring population health, and help us inform conservation strategy,” she said.

The project has three “genome sequencing hubs,” including Rockefeller University in New York, the Sanger Institute outside Cambridge, England, and the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, organizers said.

The work is intriguing because it could inform future conservation efforts of jeopardized species, said Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity who is not involved in the project. More information about animals’ genetics could lead to better understanding of how animals resist disease or cope with changes in the environment, she said.

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Sequencing the genome of tens of thousands of animals could easily take 10 years, said Sadye Paez, program director for the project. Pixabay

“I think what’s interesting to me from a conservation aspect is just what we might be able to discern about the genetic diversity within a species,” Matteson said.

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The project has similarities with the Earth BioGenome Project, which seeks to catalog the genomes for 1.5 million species. Lewin chairs that project’s working group. The Vertebrate Genomes Project will contribute to that effort. (VOA)

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Here’s how You Can Become Responsible Parents of Pets

Caring tips for senior pets

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As pets grow old, pet parents need to become more responsible. Lifetime Stock

BY SIDDHI JAIN

Humans and animals go through certain complications when they grow older. However, unlike humans, pets might not be able to communicate their pain and aches in words; the responsibility falls to the pet parents.

“Some people associate the term pet with cute pups and active dogs who leap and jump at the sight of the owners. But managing a pet can be a little more complicated than the postcard picture. The pet is the best friend of the family, and they loyally serve them in their youth. When they grow older, it becomes the family’s responsibiity o take care of their needs,” says Rosie Paul, the founder and COO of global pet consulting WoofWoofNow.

Here are a few suggestions from her that might be helpful in taking care of senior pets.

The right food

Pets food
Your pets should be given the right food that is healthy. Lifetime Stock

Pets suffer from digestive and other disorders, as they grow older. They might not be able to digest and metabolise the food like before. It is vital to plan their meals accordingly so that they can get adequate nutrition and at the same time, avoid weight gain. This would include fibre, protein and reduce carbohydrates.

Regular check-ups

Senior age brings its array of aches and diseases. It is essential to visit the veterinarian regularly to check their condition. The doctors might prescribe certain medicines and make changes in their diet. Always remember that the problem might be internal, and it can be treated easily if diagnosed earlier. Do not wait for the symptoms to seek medical help.

Maintain proper hygiene

Hygiene is crucial for pet care. The dog’s teeth might get damaged over time. Maintaining proper dental hygiene would allow the owners to check for the damage and seek timely assistance.

Keep them active

Senior dogs might not be active like in their young days. However, it is vital to maintain a moderate exercise schedule for them. A lack of exercise might increase their lethargy and even cause weight gain. Parents can take them on short walks at regular intervals.

Pets health
To maintain the health of your pets, take them to regular health check-ups. Lifetime Stock

Monitor their behaviour

Attention is a critical aspect of care for older dogs. Owners can track their behaviour and even journal it to check for any abnormal behaviour. These might be an indication of their pain or discomfort. It is essential to seek medical help if they note any consistent changes in their appetite or behaviour.

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Every pet is unique, and they have their ageing pattern. Sometimes, time passes by before the parents realise it. It is essential to check with the veterinarian regarding this information and keep track of their growth. The right care right from an early stage can slow down the ageing process. It is vital to pet-proof the house to assist the animals in moving with ease. (IANS)