An international group of more than 200 scientists–including Oregon Health & Science University neuroscientist Claudio Mello, Ph.D.–has released the genome of common birds for the first time. This work illuminates the evolution of birds, including details about how they developed song.
The consortium is publishing 23 papers across multiple journals this week, including 8 papers in a Dec. 12 special issue of Science. The 48 bird species studied include the crow, duck, and eagle, as well as Anna’s hummingbird, which is common in the Pacific Northwest and the subject of Mello’s work.
Mello is an international expert on learning and memory, in particular how birds learn to vocalize. He is a co-author of three of the Science articles and the senior author on two other papers. The Mello lab has also been involved in cataloguing the brain expression of a large collection of genes in songbirds, an online atlas that played a fundamental role in the comparative studies of the consortium. Read the full story here.