As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Birds of a feather: Pigeon head crest findings extend to domesticated doves

Date:June 23, 2015

Source:Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)

Summary:A few years ago biologists found that a prominent change in pigeon plumage, head crests, could be traced to a mutation in a single gene. Now the research team has found an almost exact repeat in the evolutionary playbook in distantly related doves.

Evolutionary biologist Michael Shapiro and his team from the University of Utah made international headlines in 2013 when they found that a prominent change in pigeon plumage, head crests, could be traced to a mutation in a single gene.

Now, in the new advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, the research team has found an almost exact repeat in the evolutionary playbook. A mutation in the same gene, EphB2, has led to a similar result in domesticated ringneck doves. The mutation causes the feathers on the back of the head and neck to grow up toward the head in a striking look.

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