Scientists successfully sequence genome of near-extinct Hawaiian crow

Local News

Scientists from University of Hawaii at Hilo and the San Diego Zoo, are trying to bring the Hawaiian crow back from the brink of extinction.

Researchers were able to successfully sequence the genome of the bird, also known as the alala.

The species was once reduced to a population of about 20 birds, and sequencing its genome will be important in tracking any genetic challenges it faces.

The alala has been extinct in the wild since 2002, and only exists at a program at San Diego Zoo.

“We can try to use the genetics to try to figure out what is actually going on and that will help us decide us to choose birds in captivity, which birds are the best ones to pair, which ones are the best for release, which birds maybe we hold back and don’t release initially back in to the wild,” said Jolene Sutton, a UH Hilo assistant professor at the biology department.

Conservationists hope to reintroduce the species into a prepared habitat on the Big Island later this year.

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