Navigation Links
Darwin was wrong about the wild origin of the chicken
Date:2/29/2008

Charles Darwin maintained that the domesticated chicken derives from the red jungle fowl, but new research from Uppsala University now shows that the wild origins of the chicken are more complicated than that.

The researchers mapped the genes that give most domesticated chickens yellow legs and found to their surprise that this genetic heredity derives from a closely related species, the grey jungle fowl. The study is being published today in the Web edition of PLoS Genetics.

Our studies show that even though most of the genes in domesticated fowls come from the red jungle fowl, at least one other species must have contributed, specifically the grey jungle fowl, says Jonas Eriksson, a doctoral student at Uppsala University.

It is most likely the case that the grey jungle fowl was crossed with an early form of the domesticated chicken. The genes for yellow skin are spread among billions of domesticated chickens around the world. Darwins studies of domesticated animals were of key importance to his theory of evolution, and he also explained the wild origins of domesticated animals.

Whats ironic is that Darwin thought that more than one wild species had contributed to the development of the dog, but that the chicken came from only one wild species, the red jungle fowl. Now it turns out that its just the opposite way around, says Greger Larson, a researcher at Uppsala University and Durham University in England.

The yellow leg color is a result of fodder: the more yellow carotenoids there are in the feed, the yellower the legs. The gene that these researchers have now identified codes for an enzyme that breaks down carotenoids and releases vitamin A. This gene is shut down in skin but fully active in other tissues in chickens with yellow legs. The consequence is that yellow carotenoids are stored in the skin in these chickens. This is called a regulatory mutation since the coding sequence of the gene is intact, but its regulation is modified.

Our study is a clear example of the importance of regulatory mutations in the course of evolution. What we dont know is why humans bred this characteristic. Maybe chickens with bright yellow legs were seen as being healthier or more fertile than other chickens, or were we simply charmed by their distinct appearance" wonders Professor Leif Andersson, who directed the project.

The scientists believe that the same gene may well be of significance in explaining the pink color of the flamingo, the yellow leg color of many birds of prey, and the reddish meat of the salmon. These characteristics are all caused by carotenoids. The gene may also influence the skin color of humans to some extent.


'/>"/>

Contact: Leif Andersson
leif.andersson@imbim.uu.se
46-070-514-4904
Uppsala University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Darwin Symposium at Field Museum offers broad overview of his science and its impact
2. Cosmopolitan microbes -- hitchhikers on Darwins dust
3. The surprising story of Charles Darwin and his homeopathic doctor
4. Doctors may be giving the wrong dosage of adrenaline in an emergency because of labelling
5. Inquiring minds want to know about cotton fleahoppers
6. Misconceptions about Alzheimers varies among races, survey suggests
7. Inquiring minds want to know about cotton fleahoppers
8. Americans remain pessimistic about the environment, Stanford-AP survey finds
9. Rutgers scientists research reveals critical knowledge about the nervous system
10. High-tech helmets reveal new information about the impact of hard hits to the head
11. New study increases concerns about climate model reliability
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/10/2016)... Pa. , March 10, 2016   Unisys Corporation ... Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is testing its biometric ... San Diego to help identify certain non-U.S. ... . The test, designed to help determine the efficiency ... environment, began in February and will run until May 2016. ...
(Date:3/3/2016)...  FlexTech, a SEMI Strategic Association Partner, awarded five ... Development, Leadership in Education, and, in a category new ... year of the FLEXI Awards and the winners ... past years . Judging was done on a ... criteria, by a panel of non-affiliated, independent, industry experts. ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... 1, 2016 ... of the  "Global Biometric Access Control ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/ghsgdt/global_biometric ... the  "Global Biometric Access Control Systems ... offering. --> Research and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) will ... Marijuana Business Conference and Expo. Shimadzu’s high-performance instruments enable laboratories to test cannabis ... attendees can stop by booth 1021 to learn how Shimadzu’s instruments can help ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... April 27, 2016 NanoStruck ... (OTCPink: NSKQB) ( Frankfurt : 8NSK) ... Pressemitteilung vom 13. August 2015 die Genehmigung von ... um zusätzliche 200.000.000 Einheiten auf 400.000.000 Einheiten zu ... bringen. Davon wurden 157.900.000 Einheiten mit dem ersten ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ROCHELLE, VIRGINIA (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 ... ... announced today that Jon Clark has joined the company as an Expert Consultant. ... was responsible for industry collaborations and managing the development of small molecule monographs ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group CEO Benito Novas ... founder of GSCG affiliate Kimera Labs in Miami. , In 2004, Ross received his ... transplantation for hematologic disorders and the suppression of graft vs. host disease (GVHD) under ...
Breaking Biology Technology: