Why darwin was wrong about dating


05-Feb-2016 18:24

Charles Darwin maintained that the domesticated chicken descended from the red jungle fowl, but new research now shows that the wild origins of the chicken are more complicated.The researchers mapped the genes that give most domesticated chickens yellow legs and found, to their surprise, that this genetic heredity derives from a closely related species -- the gray jungle fowl." wonders Professor Leif Andersson, who directed the project.

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Charles Darwin maintained that the domesticated chicken descended from the red jungle fowl, but new research from Uppsala University now shows that the wild origins of the chicken are more complicated than that.The yellow leg color is a result of fodder: the more yellow carotenoids there are in the feed, the yellower the legs.The gene that these researchers have now identified codes for an enzyme that breaks down carotenoids and releases vitamin A.This is called a regulatory mutation since the coding sequence of the gene is intact, but its regulation is modified.

"Our study is a clear example of the importance of regulatory mutations in the course of evolution.Journal reference: Eriksson J, Larson G, Gunnarsson U, Bed'hom B, Tixier-Boichard M, et al.