A copy number variant is associated with a spectrum of pigmentation patterns in the rock pigeon (Columba livia)

Autoři: Rebecca Bruders aff001;  Hannah Van Hollebeke aff001;  Edward J. Osborne aff002;  Zev Kronenberg aff002;  Emily Maclary aff001;  Mark Yandell aff002;  Michael D. Shapiro aff001
Působiště autorů: School of Biological Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America aff001;  Department of Human Genetics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, United States of America aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: A copy number variant is associated with a spectrum of pigmentation patterns in the rock pigeon (Columba livia). PLoS Genet 16(5): e32767. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008274
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008274


Rock pigeons (Columba livia) display an extraordinary array of pigment pattern variation. One such pattern, Almond, is characterized by a variegated patchwork of plumage colors that are distributed in an apparently random manner. Almond is a sex-linked, semi-dominant trait controlled by the classical Stipper (St) locus. Heterozygous males (ZStZ+ sex chromosomes) and hemizygous Almond females (ZStW) are favored by breeders for their attractive plumage. In contrast, homozygous Almond males (ZStZSt) develop severe eye defects and often lack plumage pigmentation, suggesting that higher dosage of the mutant allele is deleterious. To determine the molecular basis of Almond, we compared the genomes of Almond pigeons to non-Almond pigeons and identified a candidate St locus on the Z chromosome. We found a copy number variant (CNV) within the differentiated region that captures complete or partial coding sequences of four genes, including the melanosome maturation gene Mlana. We did not find fixed coding changes in genes within the CNV, but all genes are misexpressed in regenerating feather bud collar cells of Almond birds. Notably, six other alleles at the St locus are associated with depigmentation phenotypes, and all exhibit expansion of the same CNV. Structural variation at St is linked to diversity in plumage pigmentation and gene expression, and thus provides a potential mode of rapid phenotypic evolution in pigeons.

Klíčová slova:

Alleles – Bird genetics – Bird genomics – Copy number variation – Feathers – Gene expression – Melanocytes – Pigeons


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