Thursday, May 3, 2018

A Link Bewteen Genetics and Social Behavior in Chickens

A recent study in Sweden linked five chicken genes to the animal's social behavior. To perform the experiment the team used chickens which were a cross of domesticated chicken and red jungle fowl (the ancestor of modern day chickens). This gave the birds a wider range of behaviors.
The study placed a group of birds in a new habitat and observed their tendency to either explore the new area or seek out other chickens. Gene expression in the hypothalamus was also measured. Five genes were identified to influence the sociality and gene expression observed. The genes had already been associated with influencing behavior or the nervous system. Social behaviors are very complex, and although we can assume that they are influenced by genetics to be able to pinpoint what specific genes have influence is fascinating.
Link to Article-

Original Paper-

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