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Study 'reveals north/south genetic divide in Welsh red kite'

A study of the modern red kite population in Wales has revealed a north/south genetic divide that runs along the Towy Valley.

In the 1930s only one breeding pair remained in Wales. Credit: Stephen Wilson/ PA Wire

This is one of the findings of a study of the genetic status of the red kite in Wales by Aberystwyth University postgraduate student Ilze Skujina.

The research was undertaken as part of a project to provide guidance on the long-term conservation of the red kite.

DNA was collected from feathers cast off by the birds.

The molecule acts like a bar-code and provides geneticists with information about the relations between populations and individuals.

I was not only able to reconfirm that the modern Welsh kite population still fall into a Northern and Southern groups (as had been detected in the 1980s using the single genetic fingerprint probe available at the time) but also detect a genetic difference between the older Central-Welsh and the relatively new Red kite population in Shropshire and Herefordshire

– Ilze Skujina, Postgraduate Student, Aberystwyth University
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