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Extracted DNA Could Shed Light on Dodo Bird

The World | IN BRIEF / BRITAIN

March 02, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

Scientists at Oxford University said that they had extracted DNA from a dodo, the flightless bird hunted to extinction on its native Indian Ocean island of Mauritius in the 17th century.

"The DNA survives," Dr. Alan Cooper of the university's Department of Zoology told BBC news. "It's very damaged and broken down into tiny pieces, but little fragments remain."

Cooper took the DNA from the head, leg and foot remains of a dodo donated to the university's Museum of Natural History in 1683--just two years after the last dodo sighting.

The research aims to uncover the dodo's family tree and discover its living relatives. The closest were a kind of pigeon from New Guinea and the Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean.

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