Pigeons' prominent plumage traces to one gene

Mutation appears to have arisen once and then spread through breeding

By Tina Hesman Saey, 12:34 PM January 31, 2013

A change in a single gene ruffles the feathers of all pigeons with collars and crests, a new study shows.

Many breeds of rock pigeons have these crests, even though they come from different branches of the pigeon family tree. So it was a surprise that all the birds owe their fancy plumage to the same mutation in a gene called EphB2, Michael Shapiro of the University of Utah and colleagues report online January 31 in Science. The researchers found that the mutation arose once and spread to m...

Source URL: https://www.sciencenews.org/article/pigeons-prominent-plumage-traces-one-gene