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© Research
Publication : Science (New York, N.Y.)

A genetic mechanism for sexual dichromatism in birds.

Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique

Published in Science (New York, N.Y.) - 12 Jun 2020

Gazda MA, Araújo PM, Lopes RJ, Toomey MB, Andrade P, Afonso S, Marques C, Nunes L, Pereira P, Trigo S, Hill GE, Corbo JC, Carneiro M,

Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 32527835

Link to DOI – 10.1126/science.aba0803

Science 2020 06; 368(6496): 1270-1274

Sexual dichromatism, a difference in coloration between males and females, may be due to sexual selection for ornamentation and mate choice. Here, we show that carotenoid-based dichromatism in mosaic canaries, a hybrid phenotype that arises in offspring of the sexually dichromatic red siskin and monochromatic canaries, is controlled by the gene that encodes the carotenoid-cleaving enzyme β-carotene oxygenase 2 (BCO2). Dichromatism in mosaic canaries is explained by differential carotenoid degradation in the integument, rather than sex-specific variation in physiological functions such as pigment uptake or transport. Transcriptome analyses suggest that carotenoid degradation in the integument might be a common mechanism contributing to sexual dichromatism across finches. These results suggest that differences in ornamental coloration between sexes can evolve through simple molecular mechanisms controlled by genes of major effect.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32527835