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How hummingbirds evolved to detect sweetness


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A Marvelous Spatuletail hummingbird. Credit: Roger Ahlman, ABC
At some point, an adventurous hummingbird took a sip of a flower's nectar, and the rest is history.


Genome sequencing over the last decade has revealed birds to lack the gene T1R2, one of two that combine to allow animals to taste sugar. Alligators, on the other hand -- one of birds' closest relatives -- have both the necessary sweet tooth genes. The discrepancy suggests that as birds split off from dinosaurs on the evolutionary family tree, they lost their taste for sugar. Yet, hummingbirds are nectar fiends -- they can't get enough. But why? And how?

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2014/08/22/Birds-lost-their-sweet-tooth-hummingbirds-got-it-back/7101408715374/

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