The Galapagos Hawk

Science Daily has an interesting article on the evolutionary history of the Galapagos hawk. Researchers analyzed the DNA of three species of parasites to work out the evolutionary history of the hawk:

“The parasites are evolutionary heirlooms that were brought to the islands during the colonization of the hawk, but have continued to evolve along with their hawk hosts,” said Noah Whiteman, who conducted this study as part of his dissertation at UMSL and is now a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. “We had a great deal of trouble understanding how the island populations of the hawk were related to one another because of low genetic variation in the hawk’s DNA. The rapidly evolving lice that live their entire lives on these birds have helped illuminate their host’s evolutionary history.”

The research is being published in the journal Molecular Ecology

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