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Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 24;10(1):1161. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-57710-7.

CREBBP and WDR 24 Identified as Candidate Genes for Quantitative Variation in Red-Brown Plumage Colouration in the Chicken.

Author information

1
AVIAN Behavioural Genomics and Physiology Group, IFM Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, 58183, Sweden.
2
The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Scotland, United Kingdom.
3
Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Box 7023, 750 07, Uppsala, Sweden.
4
ITN Dept of Science and Technology, Linköping University, Linköping, 58183, Sweden.
5
AVIAN Behavioural Genomics and Physiology Group, IFM Biology, Linköping University, Linköping, 58183, Sweden. dominic.wright@liu.se.

Abstract

Plumage colouration in birds is important for a plethora of reasons, ranging from camouflage, sexual signalling, and species recognition. The genes underlying colour variation have been vital in understanding how genes can affect a phenotype. Multiple genes have been identified that affect plumage variation, but research has principally focused on major-effect genes (such as those causing albinism, barring, and the like), rather than the smaller effect modifier loci that more subtly influence colour. By utilising a domestic × wild advanced intercross with a combination of classical QTL mapping of red colouration as a quantitative trait and a targeted genetical genomics approach, we have identified five separate candidate genes (CREBBP, WDR24, ARL8A, PHLDA3, LAD1) that putatively influence quantitative variation in red-brown colouration in chickens. By treating colour as a quantitative rather than qualitative trait, we have identified both QTL and genes of small effect. Such small effect loci are potentially far more prevalent in wild populations, and can therefore potentially be highly relevant to colour evolution.

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