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Portuguese researchers investigate the molecular basis of the superior athletic and navigational capabilities of racing pigeons

Racing pigeons have been selectively bred to find their way home quickly from what are often extremely long distances. A group of Portuguese researchers have investigated the molecular basis of this unique characteristics.

The research shows that the homing pigeon most likely descends from only a limited number of ‘stock birds’, probably dating from the 19th century. That explains why homing pigeons, both those racing on the sprint and the middle and long distance, are genetically very much alike.

Read the full doctoral thesis here.