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Successful Invasive Species Has Low Genetic Diversity


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It pays to be adaptable if you’re an invasive species looking to survive in your non-native habitat. Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) — an invasive species currently found in 14 U.S. states, with the majority in Texas and Florida — appear to be well aware of this particular survival strategy. Resembling traditional Middle Age monks that are short and stout with grey cowls on their heads, these birds were the subject of a recent study published in Molecular Biology to understand where this particular invasive species originated and how its genetic makeup differs from the same species in its native habitat. In a large research collaboration led by lead author Pim Edelaar, a researcher at Universidad Pablo de Olavide in Spain, researchers in Spain, the United States, Canada and Australia studied the DNA of the species and found that it isn’t high genetic diversity that allows these parakeets to survive in diverse areas, but rather their social behavior. The team was also able to trace the origin of the birds back to South America, likely in Uruguay. “Monk parakeets are interesting because they are one of the successful bird invaders and have invaded lots of areas which we don’t normally associate [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/successful-invasive-species-has-low-genetic-diversity/

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