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Color differences among feral pigeons (Columba livia) are not attributable to sequence variation in the coding region of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (MC1R).

Derelle R, Kondrashov FA, Arkhipov VY, Corbel H, Frantz A, Gasparini J, Jacquin L, Jacob G, Thibault S, Baudry E - BMC Res Notes (2013)

Bottom Line: We detected 10 non-synonymous substitutions and 2 synonymous substitution but none of them were associated with a plumage type.It remains possible that non-synonymous substitutions that influence coloration are present in the short MC1R fragment that we did not sequence but this seems unlikely because we analyzed the entire functionally important region of the gene.Our results show that color differences among feral pigeons are probably not attributable to amino acid variation at the MC1R locus.

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ABSTRACT

Background: Genetic variation at the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene is correlated with melanin color variation in many birds. Feral pigeons (Columba livia) show two major melanin-based colorations: a red coloration due to pheomelanic pigment and a black coloration due to eumelanic pigment. Furthermore, within each color type, feral pigeons display continuous variation in the amount of melanin pigment present in the feathers, with individuals varying from pure white to a full dark melanic color. Coloration is highly heritable and it has been suggested that it is under natural or sexual selection, or both. Our objective was to investigate whether MC1R allelic variants are associated with plumage color in feral pigeons.

Findings: We sequenced 888 bp of the coding sequence of MC1R among pigeons varying both in the type, eumelanin or pheomelanin, and the amount of melanin in their feathers. We detected 10 non-synonymous substitutions and 2 synonymous substitution but none of them were associated with a plumage type. It remains possible that non-synonymous substitutions that influence coloration are present in the short MC1R fragment that we did not sequence but this seems unlikely because we analyzed the entire functionally important region of the gene.

Conclusions: Our results show that color differences among feral pigeons are probably not attributable to amino acid variation at the MC1R locus. Therefore, variation in regulatory regions of MC1R or variation in other genes may be responsible for the color polymorphism of feral pigeons.

Show MeSH
Four plumage categories of the studied feral pigeons: white or almost white (pigeons that have a pure white color over almost all the body, but show a few feathers of a different color), blue bar (wild type), spread (melanic) and ash-red. The three first categories correspond to an increasing production of eumelanin, whereas the last one corresponds to a production of pheomelanin.
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Figure 1: Four plumage categories of the studied feral pigeons: white or almost white (pigeons that have a pure white color over almost all the body, but show a few feathers of a different color), blue bar (wild type), spread (melanic) and ash-red. The three first categories correspond to an increasing production of eumelanin, whereas the last one corresponds to a production of pheomelanin.

Mentions: We chose individuals with four different types of plumage (Figure 1): white or almost white (i.e. white over almost all the body but with a few feathers of a different color), blue bar (wild type: gray mantle with two dark wing bars), spread (a completely melanic plumage) and ash-red. The three first categories correspond to an increasing production of eumelanin, whereas the last one corresponds to a production of pheomelanin. Blood samples were collected from free-living pigeons in Paris, France and Saratov, Russia (Table 1). Genomic DNA was extracted from the blood samples with a Macherey Nagel Nucleospin tissue kit, following the manufacturer’s protocol. Extracted DNA was resuspended in 100 μl elution buffer.


Color differences among feral pigeons (Columba livia) are not attributable to sequence variation in the coding region of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (MC1R).

Derelle R, Kondrashov FA, Arkhipov VY, Corbel H, Frantz A, Gasparini J, Jacquin L, Jacob G, Thibault S, Baudry E - BMC Res Notes (2013)

Four plumage categories of the studied feral pigeons: white or almost white (pigeons that have a pure white color over almost all the body, but show a few feathers of a different color), blue bar (wild type), spread (melanic) and ash-red. The three first categories correspond to an increasing production of eumelanin, whereas the last one corresponds to a production of pheomelanin.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3750627&req=5

Figure 1: Four plumage categories of the studied feral pigeons: white or almost white (pigeons that have a pure white color over almost all the body, but show a few feathers of a different color), blue bar (wild type), spread (melanic) and ash-red. The three first categories correspond to an increasing production of eumelanin, whereas the last one corresponds to a production of pheomelanin.
Mentions: We chose individuals with four different types of plumage (Figure 1): white or almost white (i.e. white over almost all the body but with a few feathers of a different color), blue bar (wild type: gray mantle with two dark wing bars), spread (a completely melanic plumage) and ash-red. The three first categories correspond to an increasing production of eumelanin, whereas the last one corresponds to a production of pheomelanin. Blood samples were collected from free-living pigeons in Paris, France and Saratov, Russia (Table 1). Genomic DNA was extracted from the blood samples with a Macherey Nagel Nucleospin tissue kit, following the manufacturer’s protocol. Extracted DNA was resuspended in 100 μl elution buffer.

Bottom Line: We detected 10 non-synonymous substitutions and 2 synonymous substitution but none of them were associated with a plumage type.It remains possible that non-synonymous substitutions that influence coloration are present in the short MC1R fragment that we did not sequence but this seems unlikely because we analyzed the entire functionally important region of the gene.Our results show that color differences among feral pigeons are probably not attributable to amino acid variation at the MC1R locus.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background: Genetic variation at the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene is correlated with melanin color variation in many birds. Feral pigeons (Columba livia) show two major melanin-based colorations: a red coloration due to pheomelanic pigment and a black coloration due to eumelanic pigment. Furthermore, within each color type, feral pigeons display continuous variation in the amount of melanin pigment present in the feathers, with individuals varying from pure white to a full dark melanic color. Coloration is highly heritable and it has been suggested that it is under natural or sexual selection, or both. Our objective was to investigate whether MC1R allelic variants are associated with plumage color in feral pigeons.

Findings: We sequenced 888 bp of the coding sequence of MC1R among pigeons varying both in the type, eumelanin or pheomelanin, and the amount of melanin in their feathers. We detected 10 non-synonymous substitutions and 2 synonymous substitution but none of them were associated with a plumage type. It remains possible that non-synonymous substitutions that influence coloration are present in the short MC1R fragment that we did not sequence but this seems unlikely because we analyzed the entire functionally important region of the gene.

Conclusions: Our results show that color differences among feral pigeons are probably not attributable to amino acid variation at the MC1R locus. Therefore, variation in regulatory regions of MC1R or variation in other genes may be responsible for the color polymorphism of feral pigeons.

Show MeSH