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Title: Cytogenetic and genomic characterisation of the Gyrfalcon and related species: individual genomic signature and genome evolution
Author: Al Mutery, Abdullah Fahad
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2011
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Falcons are among the most spectacular animals in the world as they can be found in most continents and many environments; they are vary vastly in size, behaviour, habitat and hunting techniques. For reasons of conservation, veterinary practice and economical issues, further insight into the genome of at least one falcon species is apriority. To date however only three avian genome sequences have been completed (chicken, turkey and zebra finch) with the latter two published on1y last year. Therefore the aims of this thesis were to focus on the Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus the national emblem of the UAE) and: I. Establish the basic genomic structure (karyotype and standard ideogram) and perform a comparative study between Falco nlsticoius and the most genomically characterised bird, the chicken. Results suggested that Falco rusticolus has a similar karyotype to the previously described Falco tinnunculus (common kestrel) and thus both can be considered as ancestral. Studies of telomeric sequences did not reveal the presence of interstitial telomeres at evolutionary fusion points. 2. Establish the presence of inter-species copy number variants (CNVs) by comparison of falcons and other birds with chicken on a chicken genomic microarray. Results provided an overview of CNVs and CNV regions (CNVRs) in several ?ird species. They indicated that bird genomes contain smaller CNVRs than mammalian genomes and that bird genomes, like mammalian genomes, contain CNV hotspots. 3. Fully sequence the mitochondrial DNA of Falco rusticolus and Falco cherrug (Saker falcon) and compare to the published Falco peregrinlls to establish evolutionary relationships between them. Results suggested that Gyrfalcon and saker fa lcon are closer to one other while peregrine is more distantly related. In fact Gyrfalcon and Saker falcons consistently differ by only a single nucleotide in the control region. 4. Initiate a complete draft nuclear genome sequence of Falco rusticoills and attempt to establish the nature of the chromosomal fusions that have occurred during evolution. Also, as proof of principle, to use the resultant BLAST tool to identify selected genes (interleukin family), their Gyrfalcon orthologues and their evolutionary relationship between other published sequences. Chromosome fusion points were not detected however the gene orhologies were indicating the potential for the genome sequence. The thesis was largely successful in its stated aims and has provided resources and tools that will ultimately aid in the understanding of the biology of all member of Falconidea family.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available