Polly Wanna Genome?

Puerto Rican businesses and residents come together to support the genomic sequencing of the island’s only native parrot species, hoping to help protect the endangered bird.

By Jef Akst | December 1, 2012

The stage was set for Puerto Rico’s first-ever fashion show for science. The lights went down and the models stepped onto the runway through an arched replica of a termite nest, strutting in their high-fashion gowns before a crowd of designers, artists, faculty, students, and even some foreign dignitaries. Gazing from the perimeter were the stern countenances of bison, water buffalo, zebra, gazelles, and other denizens of the world’s varied biomes, taxidermied witnesses to the bustling activity on stage.

The fashion show was held in the Museo de Vida Silvestre (Wildlife Museum) in San Juan. The models’ time and their garments, like the venue, were donated. All the money earned that night went to Taras Oleksyk, a young researcher at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez (UPRM), and his colleagues to fund their project to study the genome of the Puerto Rican parrot.  … read more



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