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Ornithologists discover flight causes genome shrinkage

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(Phys.org) —It has long been known that birds and bats have small genomes, but the cause was uncertain. Now researchers at the University of New Mexico have shown that the genome shrinks over evolutionary time in species that spend lots of energy on flight. This discovery is described in a new paper titled, "Metabolic 'engines' of flight drive genome size reduction in birds," published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, by UNM Department of Biology graduate student Natalie Wright and Associate Professor Christopher Witt.


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