A team led by Texas A&M University researchers has mapped the genome of a popular game bird that has been disappearing at an alarming rate. It took the group two years of six-day workweeks to complete a "first draft genome assembly" for a wild bobwhite quail. The peer-reviewed research was published Wednesday evening in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
The bobwhite is one of the most popular birds to hunt in the U.S., but its population has been decreasing for decades. The chubby, robin-sized quail with a distinctive striped black head is listed as the No. 1 bird in decline in North America by the Audubon Society.