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Molecular mechanism of feather formation found

umptions of the model were found to be true in developing feathers. These findings suggest that simple relationships between developmental genes can provide the basis for the formation of complex forms.

The researchers predict that a more complicated version of the model can be applied to the formation of more complex feathers. Termed pennaceous, these feathers occur in the duck and other birds, including adult chickens, and are not characterized as downy. The more primitive young chicken feathers, which are downy, are called plumalaceous.

"We don't have empirical evidence for this yet, but mathematical analyses lead us to believe that the addition of a third signaling factor leads to the development of the more complex pennaceous feather," Fallon says. " Our model supports paleontologic evidence that pennaceous feathers are more advanced than plumalaceous feathers."


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Source:University of Wisconsin-Madison


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