After 10,000 years of breeding, the Rakiura / Stewart Island cockpit has been found to be in surprisingly good genetic health.
A major international study has revealed that copy has lost harmful variables due to inbreeding.
Bruce Robertson, a professor at the University of Otago who has been studying copycat genes for 25 years, said that mutations are believed to have been eliminated through natural selection.
“We also looked at the entire genome of Stewart Island birds and historical specimens of the land, and what we found was that Stewart Island birds have in fact lost a lot of harmful mutations and usually accumulate them in a small population. Should be, “he said.
“We think it’s because of natural selection … eliminating some of these harmful variables.”
“This is good news for Kakipa and other endangered species,” he said.
“Many of these harmful mutations can cause genetic diseases, so that means very few of them. [than might be expected].
“This is good news for other species as well, because the Kakipa has been suffering from this type of obstruction for almost 10,000 years, so it shows that the population can survive for a long time.”
He said the research could be applied to other endangered species with small populations.
However, the research also raises some complex issues that protectionists will face.
“We need to keep in mind that reproduction is still a problem, and that success in hatching – and only 50% of eggs are laid in cockroaches – is probably genetic.
“The other thing we need to keep in mind is that we have a gene from one – Richard Henry, the last Fairland copycat – and now we have to think about how we can insert that gene into the gene pool. Because they are actually good genes but they also have these harmful mutations, so we have to consider how to do it. “