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Chicken genomics: feather-pecking and victim pigmentation.
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2004 (English)In: Nature, ISSN 0028-0836, E-ISSN 1476-4687, Vol. 431, no 7009Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Feather-pecking in domestic birds is associated with cannibalism and severe welfare problems. It is a dramatic example of a spiteful behaviour in which the victim's fitness is reduced for no immediate direct benefit to the perpetrator and its evolution is unexplained. Here we show that the plumage pigmentation of a chicken may predispose it to become a victim: birds suffer more drastic feather-pecking when the colour of their plumage is due to the expression of a wild recessive allele at PMEL17, a gene that controls plumage melanization, and when these birds are relatively common in a flock. These findings, obtained using an intercross between a domestic fowl and its wild ancestor, have implications for the welfare of domestic species and offer insight into the genetic changes associated with the evolution of feather-pecking during the early stages of domestication.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 431, no 7009
National Category
Natural Sciences
Research subject
Genetics
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294259DOI: 10.1038/431645aPubMedID: 15470416OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-294259DiVA: diva2:929246
Available from: 2016-05-18 Created: 2016-05-18 Last updated: 2016-05-18

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