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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Jun 25, 1996; 93(13): 6792–6795.
PMCID: PMC39106

Monophyletic origin and unique dispersal patterns of domestic fowls.

Abstract

With the aim of elucidating in greater detail the genealogical origin of the present domestic fowls of the world, we have determined mtDNA sequences of the D-loop regions for a total of 21 birds, of which 12 samples belong to red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) comprising three subspecies (six Gallus gallus gallus, three Gallus gallus spadiceus, and three Gallus gallus bankiva) and nine represent diverse domestic breeds (Gallus gallus domesticus). We also sequenced four green junglefowl (Gallus varius), two Lafayette's junglefowl (Gallus lafayettei), and one grey junglefowl (Gallus sonneratii). We then constructed a phylogenetic tree for these birds by the use of nucleotide sequences, choosing the Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) as an outgroup. We found that a continental population of G. g. gallus was the real matriarchic origin of all the domestic poultries examined in this study. It is also of particular interest that there were no discernible differences among G. gallus subspecies; G. g. bankiva was a notable exception. This was because G. g. spadiceus and a continental population of G. g. gallus formed a single cluster in the phylogenetic tree. G. g. bankiva, on the other hand, was a distinct entity, thus deserving its subspecies status. It implies that a continental population of G. g. gallus sufficed as the monophyletic ancestor of all domestic breeds. We also discussed a possible significance of the initial dispersal pattern of the present domestic fowls, using the phylogenetic tree.

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Selected References

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