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Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Scientists map genome of iconic beaver as gift for Canada's 150th birthday
Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press:
Ward the beaver is shown in this undated handout photo. A team of molecular geneticists at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children has sequenced the genome of the Canadian beaver to mark the country's sesquicentennial. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Toronto Zoo
TORONTO - Scientists have a gift for Canada as the country celebrates its 150th — and as a birthday present, it's certainly unique.
A team of molecular geneticists at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children has sequenced the genome of the Canadian beaver — Castor canadensis — to mark the country's sesquicentennial.
"The Canadian beaver had not been done, and we figured if anyone's going to do the Canadian beaver, it should be Canadian scientists, so we exert our dominion over the animal that is out national icon," said Stephen Scherer, director of the hospital's Centre for Applied Genomics, who led the six-month pet project to map out the genes that make up the furry rodent.
The genome was sequenced using DNA from Ward, a 10-year-old male beaver that lives at the Toronto Zoo with its mate June — a nod to the Cleaver parents in the 1950s TV show "Leave it to Beaver."...
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