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A sexual ornament in chic… - University of Gothenburg, Sweden Till startsida
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A sexual ornament in chickens is affected by pleiotropic alleles at HAO1 and BMP2, selected during domestication.

Journal article
Authors Martin Johnsson
Ida Gustafson
Carl-Johan Rubin
Anna-Stina Sahlqvist
Kenneth B Jonsson
Susanne Kerje
Olov Ekwall
Olle Kämpe
Leif Andersson
Per Jensen
Dominic Wright
Published in PLoS genetics
Volume 8
Issue 8
Pages e1002914
ISSN 1553-7404
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research
Institute of Clinical Sciences
Pages e1002914
Language en
Keywords Alcohol Oxidoreductases, genetics, Alleles, Animals, Bone Morphogenetic Protein 2, genetics, Chickens, genetics, Comb and Wattles, anatomy & histology, growth & development, Crosses, Genetic, Fertility, genetics, Genetic Linkage, Genetic Pleiotropy, Male, Phenotype, Quantitative Trait Loci, Selection, Genetic
Subject categories Basic Medicine


Domestication is one of the strongest forms of short-term, directional selection. Although selection is typically only exerted on one or a few target traits, domestication can lead to numerous changes in many seemingly unrelated phenotypes. It is unknown whether such correlated responses are due to pleiotropy or linkage between separate genetic architectures. Using three separate intercrosses between wild and domestic chickens, a locus affecting comb mass (a sexual ornament in the chicken) and several fitness traits (primarily medullary bone allocation and fecundity) was identified. This locus contains two tightly-linked genes, BMP2 and HAO1, which together produce the range of pleiotropic effects seen. This study demonstrates the importance of pleiotropy (or extremely close linkage) in domestication. The nature of this pleiotropy also provides insights into how this sexual ornament could be maintained in wild populations.

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