December 11, 2014
Two penguin genomes have been sequenced and analyzed for the first time. The study reveals insights into how these birds have been able to adapt to the cold and hostile Antarctic environment.
Antarctic penguins are subject to extremely low temperatures, high winds, and profound changes in daylight. They have developed complicated biological systems to regulate temperature and store energy for long-term fasting. Most studies have focused on the physiological and behavioral aspects of their biology, but an international team of researchers has now analyzed the DNA of two Antarctic penguins (Adélie and emperor) relative to other bird species, revealing the genetic basis of their adaptations and their evolutionary history in response to climate change.