Written by
Liz Fuller-Wright, Office of Communications
Nov. 19, 2018

Bridgett vonHoldt, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, branched out from her usual field of canine genetics to tackle a bird mystery: Why does a species of Cameroonian finches have two beak sizes?
VonHoldt used new technology to analyze the entire genome, identifying the gene responsible for beak size. The "mega" morph of these finches, with an even bigger bill and a larger overall body size, appears to result from an additional evolutionary step.