For those of you who are not American Thanksgiving observers, turkey is the main course of choice for most Americans for that harvest feast. Two years ago Mary reported the turkey genome was on it’s way. Well, it’s apropos that the turkey genome is nearly complete (PLoS paper out in September) and ready for this year’s Thanksgiving feast!
A current BMC Genomics paper reveals that there have been multiple intrachromosomal rearrangements between the turkey genome and the chicken one. I guess one could say that a turkey is just a chicken that’s been reconfigured? (hattip: Daily Scan)
With these publications, you’ve got some uber-geeky fodder to prove to your family that you are indeed a biology nerd.
Speaking of chickens and turkeys… when I lived in Korea in 1980 my American friends and I had a hard time finding a turkey (Koreans thought they were ugly). We finally found a farm that raised them for American servicemen and expatriates. We went there and picked the largest they had, it was an ugly head above the rest. We took it, live, in a box on a 1 hour bus ride back to the market near our home with Koreans staring at our ugly-headed box like we were insane (perhaps we were?). We took it to an incredulous chicken butcher and when we returned for our dispatched and deheaded turkey, he took pity on us and gave us two large chickens. When we saw the pathetic turkey, we understood why the butcher insisted on gifting us two chickens: the turkey, as large as it was, had no meat on it.
Well, we roasted two chickens that Thanksgiving (and made a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin we found at the market.. the purveyor of which thought we were crazy to eat a pumpkin, they were for decoration!).
Anyhoo, a long anecdote that just goes to show that perhaps a chicken does indeed suffice since they are just rearranged birds (though I wonder where the turkey’s head came from on the chicken?)