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Researchers decode rock pigeon genome

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A team of international researchers has decoded the genome of the pigeon, 5,000 years after it was first domesticated, according to a study published Thursday.

Known as Columba livia, the rock pigeon is considered among the most common and varied species on the planet, consisting of 350 breeds with a slew of different features, and is among just a few bird genomes sequenced so far.

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“Birds are a huge part of life on Earth, and we know surprisingly little about their genetics,” said study co-author Michael Shapiro, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah.

“This will give us new insights into bird evolution.”

Researchers found that a single mutation in the EphB2 gene, or Ephrin receptor B2, causes head and neck feathers to grow upward instead of downward, creating so-called head crests that help attract mates in many bird species.

“This same gene in humans has been implicated as a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease as well as prostate cancer and possibly other cancers,” Shapiro said.

The study, published on the website of the journal Science, also uncovered more conclusive proof that major groups of pigeon breeds originated in the Middle East.

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Shapiro said the study “found a lot of shared genetic heritage between breeds from Iran and breeds we suspect are from India, consistent with historical records of trade routes between those regions.”

The finding suggests “people were not only trading goods along those routes, but probably also interbreeding their pigeons,” he added.

According to the researchers, who used specially designed software, the rock pigeon’s 17,300 genes compare to about 21,000 genes in humans.

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The study assembled 1.1 billion base pairs of DNA in the rock pigeon genome, compared to 3 billion base pairs in the human genome.

Aside from the University of Utah, other institutions involved the study included China’s BGI-Shenzhen, Denmark’s University of Copenhagen and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

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Former acting CIA director explains why Trump’s inaction on Russian bounty scandal will make things worse

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It was revealed nearly two weeks ago that the Russian government is paying a bounty to the Taliban for killing American soldiers.

Since then, President Donald Trump has denied that he and his administration didn't know anything about it. Then he claimed it was a hoax. Now it has become clear that the stories are not only true but that if Trump read his presidential daily briefing in 2019, he would have been aware of the problem.

Speaking to the House Thursday, Trump's former acting CIA director Michael Morell explained that things are being made far worse by the president's denial.

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Here are 7 hilarious videos about wearing COVID-19 masks to send people who won’t wear them

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While late-night shows are off for a Summer break, Americans are glued to TikTok and Twitter for their humor and every folks have delivered.

The latest trend is to mock fools who refuse to wear masks. While many people who refuse to wear a mask tuck their tails and sulk as they walk away, some take it to a whole new level of fury. Those precious souls are being mocked and shamed all around the world.

Here are seven videos that are hilarious or adorable that encourage wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Wearing a mask is like wearing a lifejacket.https://twitter.com/mattbooshell/status/1280933495674732544

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Trump tells Fox News the ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign on Fifth Avenue is like he’s being ‘prosecuted’

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President Donald Trump appeared to reveal another quid pro quo during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell pointed it out during an interview with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

"I was very nice to Mayor de Blasio. I got him ventilators when he needed them... I got him the gowns. I got him the masks. I got him everything. Then he throws a big Black Lives Matter sign right down in the middle of Fifth Avenue. I was so good to him and to Gov. Cuomo, like nobody's ever been good. And then all you end up doing out of that place is getting prosecuted."

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