Some Birds have stripes others do not, why is that? Recently a group of researchers set out with the question of why do birds show such a diverse amount of coat color and pattering, and the genetic mystery behind it. One of the main breeds of chickens they looked at was the french breed Coucou de Rennes, because it exhibits very exciting plumage. First the researchers started off looking at the sex linked chromosomes; because, it had previously been identified that that's where the barring that occurs gene is located, in birds males have chromosomes ZZ and females have a ZW set of chromosomes. They found that the barring is a combination of two genes working together, one as a regulator gene and one as the actual expressed gene. The expressed gene, CDKN2A, is also associated with tumor suppression in humans. In humans inactivity of this gene is often linked to Melanoma, skin cancer, cases. In chickens however it also effects the type and way the pigment of the chickens appears in and on the feathers. This study helps to highlight how useful domesticated breeds of animals are with evolutionary studies.
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