Navigation Links
Scientific breakthrough in genetic studies of animal domestication

The domestication of animals and plants is the most important technological innovation during human history. This genetic transformation of wild species has occurred as humans have used individuals carrying favorable gene variants for breeding purposes. In the current issue of Nature an international team led by researchers at Uppsala University has revealed some of the secrets underlying the remarkable development of the domestic chicken.

The domestic chicken has in recent years become the most important and cost-effective source of animal protein world-wide. In the beginning of the 20th century specialized layer (egg-producing) and broiler (meat-producing) chickens were developed. The approach has been remarkably successful and has led to huge improvements in productivity.

"The strategy to study four different populations of layer chickens as well as four broiler populations allowed us to reveal genetic changes of crucial importance for chicken domestication in general as well as changes that were essential for the development of layers or broilers", says Leif Andersson who coordinated the study.

In 2004, a draft genome sequence of the chicken was established by sequencing a single female red junglefowl, the wild ancestor of chickens. The task required a major economic investment (millions of US dollars) and a large international team of scientists. In the current study the researchers have used new sequencing technologies and a modest budget to analyze pools of individuals representing eight different populations of the domestic chicken and a red junglefowl population.

"This is the first study ever where the genetic diversity within and between populations are examined across the whole genome", says Michael Zody, who did his PhD partially on this project and is now a researcher at the Broad Institute. "The new sequencing technologies allow us to address important biological questions that were impossible to study just a few years ago".

A selective sweep takes place when a favorable mutation becomes fixed in a population. This happens in all species during the course of evolution and it happens in domestic animals as a consequence of human-driven selection for favored traits. One of the most interesting findings in this study was a striking selective sweep at the TSHR gene that codes for the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor. In vertebrates, this protein has a key role in metabolic regulation but also in determining the timing of reproduction as a response to changes in day length, a trait that is strictly controlled in most wild animals but which is drastically altered in domestic chickens that can reproduce all year around.

"Our discovery that every domestic chicken that we have studied representing populations from Sweden to China carry a mutant form of the TSHR protein strongly suggests that this genetic change was an important step in the evolution of the domestic chicken", says Leif Andersson.

Another very convincing selective sweep was observed in broiler chickens and involved the TBC1D1 gene, a gene that has previously been associated with obesity in humans and the TBC1D1 protein is involved in the regulation of glucose uptake in muscle cells.

"Our study shows that billions of broiler chickens worldwide carry a mutant form of the TBC1D1 gene and we are now very eager to identify the causative mutation at this locus and to reveal the molecular mechanism by which it impacts growth", says Carl-Johan Rubin who was responsible for the bioinformatic analysis of selective sweeps.

The study is a breakthrough as regards genetic studies of domestic animals.

"Our study has direct implications for animal breeding and enhances the importance of the domestic chicken as a model organism for biomedical research since we can so effectively reveal genes associated with changes in phenotypic traits", concludes Leif Andersson.


Contact: Leif Andersson
Uppsala University

Related biology technology :

1. Orameds Chief Scientific Officer, Miriam Kidron, Ph.D., Chosen to Lecture at the Third International Conference on Advanced Technologies and Treatments for Diabetes in Basel, Switzerland
2. Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) Selects Scopus Custom Data for Citation Linkage Analysis Between Scientific Articles and Patents
3. Joint BioEnergy Institute Selects Surety's AbsoluteProof to Protect the Integrity and Legally Defend the Authenticity of its Scientific Intellectual Property
4. Boston Scientific Announces Completion of $2 Billion Senior Notes Offering
5. Science Education Experts Discuss Solutions for Global Competitiveness at Scientific American Forum
6. Vivakor Announces Additions to Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board
7. Advanced Cell Technologys Chief Scientific Officer, Robert Lanza, Opening Plenary Speaker at the 3rd International Conference on Cell Therapy
8. WaferGen Names Christopher Sears, Ph.D., Architect of High-Value Molecular Diagnostics and Computational Biology Platforms, to Companys Scientific Advisory Board
9. Star Scientific Plans Worldwide Marketing and Sales of CigRx(TM) Nutraceutical in Partnership with inVentiv Health
10. Cytochroma Appoints Dr. John Cunningham to its Scientific Advisory Board
11. DOE to Explore Scientific Cloud Computing at Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software ... State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , ... Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced ... of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials ... dose studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, ... in healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects ... single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Andrew D Zelenetz , ... Published recently in Oncology & ... Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses the fact ... placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems worldwide, ... the patents on many biologics expiring, interest in ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free validated electronic ... showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, 2016 for ... Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA (Drug Information ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/9/2016)... an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of ... make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/7/2016)... TORONTO , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii ... begun a business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s ... pilot branch project. This collaboration will result in ... for the credit union, while maintaining existing document ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... -- The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... US Dollar project, for the , Supply and ... and IT Infrastructure , to Decatur ... of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):