Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How chickens keep their cool: Mutation explains odd look of Transylvanian naked neck chicken

Date:
March 16, 2011
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Its head looks like a turkey's, its body resembles a chicken's -- now scientists can explain why one of the poultry world's most curious specimens has developed such a distinctive look. The Transylvanian naked neck chicken -- once dubbed a Churkey or a Turken because of its hybrid appearance -- has developed its defining feature because of a complex genetic mutation.

The Naked neck phenotype is caused by a cis-regulatory mutation that results in elevated BMP12 expression.
Credit: Chunyan Mou, Frederique Pitel, David Gourichon, Florence Vignoles, Athanasia Tzika, Patricia Tato, Le Yu, Dave W. Burt, Bertrand Bed'hom, Michele Tixier-Boichard, Kevin J. Painter, Denis J. Headon. Cryptic Patterning of Avian Skin Confers a Developmental Facility for Loss of Neck Feathering. PLoS Biology, 2011; 9 (3): e1001028 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001028

Its head looks like a turkey's, its body resembles a chicken's -- now scientists can explain why one of the poultry world's most curious specimens has developed such a distinctive look.

The Transylvanian naked neck chicken -- once dubbed a Churkey or a Turken because of its hybrid appearance -- has developed its defining feature because of a complex genetic mutation.

Researchers at The Roslin Institute at The University of Edinburgh found that a vitamin A-derived substance produced around the bird's neck enhanced the effects of the genetic mutation.

This causes a protein -- BMP12 -- to be produced, suppressing feather growth and causing the bird to have an outstanding bald neck.

The findings could help poultry production in hot countries, including in the developing world, because chickens with naked necks are much better equipped to withstand the heat.

The discovery also has implications for understanding how birds -- including vultures -- evolved to have featherless necks due to their metabolism of vitamin A selectively in neck skin.

Transylvanian naked necks, which are thought to have originated from the north of Romania, have been around for hundreds of years and were introduced to Britain in the 1920s.

The research, published in the journal PLoS Biology, was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Dr Denis Headon, who led the research at The Roslin Institute, said: "Not only does this help our understanding of developmental biology and give insight into how different breeds have evolved but it could have practical implications for helping poultry production in hot countries including those in the developing world."

Researchers analysed DNA samples from naked neck chickens in Mexico, France and Hungary to find the genetic mutation. Skin samples from embryonic chickens were also analysed using complex mathematical modelling to identify the genetic trigger.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chunyan Mou, Frederique Pitel, David Gourichon, Florence Vignoles, Athanasia Tzika, Patricia Tato, Le Yu, Dave W. Burt, Bertrand Bed'hom, Michele Tixier-Boichard, Kevin J. Painter, Denis J. Headon. Cryptic Patterning of Avian Skin Confers a Developmental Facility for Loss of Neck Feathering. PLoS Biology, 2011; 9 (3): e1001028 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001028

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "How chickens keep their cool: Mutation explains odd look of Transylvanian naked neck chicken." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315192815.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2011, March 16). How chickens keep their cool: Mutation explains odd look of Transylvanian naked neck chicken. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315192815.htm
University of Edinburgh. "How chickens keep their cool: Mutation explains odd look of Transylvanian naked neck chicken." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110315192815.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins