28-12-2017 02:30 PM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream
Series of genetic tests confirm that bird is a hybrid species
Scientists have confirmed that the golden-crowned manakin with yellow feathers which was first discovered in Brazil in 1957 but not seen again till 2002 is, in fact, a hybrid species. To ascertain this, a series of genetic and other tests were conducted by researchers.
Jason Weir from the University of Toronto in Canada said that hybrid plant species are very common, but hybrid species among vertebrates are exceedingly rare.
A hybrid species forms when two parental species mate to produce a hybrid population, which then stops being able to freely interbreed with the parental species.
In the case of the manakin, the two parents are the snow-capped manakin, named for its bright snowy-white crown feathers, and the Opal-crowned manakin, named for its brilliant iridescent crown feathers. Researchers made two separate field trips to Brazil to gather genetic and feather samples.
With the help of genome sequencing, they found that 20 percent of its genome came from the Snowy-crowned, and about 80 percent came from the Opal-crowned.
Scientists believe that the species survived owing to the geographical isolation from its parental species at some point during a past ice age when rainforest coverage contracted, and wide rivers formed natural barriers. Weir said that without geographical isolation the hybrids wouldn't have evolved as a separate species.