ASK about the species and sequencing.
CHAT in a 30 minute text chat with the species champion.
VOTE for a species to be sequenced for the first time ever!
Had a great time talking to students today - makes me want to carve them all a thank you note out of wood!
Around 2,700 Mb (megabase pairs)
The 55-million-year-old Labidolemur kayi
I should be sequenced because...: the genome will tell us how genes make the brain work in both beavers and humans, making both of us so smart and handy in building structure
Hello. You probably know me best for using my front teeth to harvest wood from trees and building dams in rivers and lakes. Indeed, we are completely herbivorous and munch on water plants, grasses, shrubs and wood. In the winter, we will store food underwater so that we can access it if the water freezes over.
We build homes called lodges and live in colonies of 2 to 12 beavers per lodge, depending on how many kits (younger than a year old) and yearlings (older than a year old) my partner and I have.
We can be defensive, and mark our territory by building mounds around the edge of our dams. These mounds are made with a combination of mud, wood and stinky substance emitted from our castor sacs called castoreum.
As an animal, we actually share history and biology with humans!
For thousands of years, we have been trapped for our furry pelts and castor sacs. Our pelts are used to make clothes, hats and insulation for homes. We were hunted nearly to extinction for our castoreum as well – people loved this substance of ours for use in traditional medicines and as an enhancer of certain food flavors. Genoming would be a kind thing for humans to do for beavers in return after a horrible history in the past!
Not many people know either that beavers are the only other mammal animals who are capable of altering the environment for our benefit! With our dam-building, we are extremely clever, just like humans. Scientists don’t know yet what genes determine the ways beaver brains work. My beaver genome will help us learn about which genes determine cleverness in beavers. Parts of our genome may be shared with people too, showing how genes and brains could have a similar relationship in both species.