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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Scientists At OSU Want To Find Out What Makes Benny Tick

September 25th, 2015

BennyFilbert — a beaver in residence at the Oregon Zoo — gave a little extra blood at his yearly physical exam. That blood will help scientists at Oregon State University sequence the genome of the North American beaver.

“Beavers are important to the ecology of the region, and understanding their genome is an important part of understanding their behaviors and role in the ecosystem,” says Dr. Stephen Ramsey, assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “There is a lot of interest in exploring the genetics of wild beaver populations throughout the Northwest, but we lack the reference genome that would really facilitate those kinds of studies.”

To learn more, watch Benny, the OSU mascot, interview some of the scientists involved in the Beaver Genome Project (including Dean Tornquist).

Now that Filbert has done his part, it’s time for the humans to help! From September 16 to October 30, OSU is crowd-funding the money needed to analyze Filbert’s DNA. In just four days, friends of the Beaver Nation have donated nearly $3,000 of the $30,000 needed! If you want to help Benny be the first college mascot with a mapped genome, donate online.

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