Mystery behind blue chicken eggs solved!
London: Scientists have identified the genetic mutation that causes some chickens to lay blue eggs.
The blue egg produced by some chickens is prettier and some say tastier and cleaner - than the traditional brown one and now, thanks to scientists from The University of Nottingham, we know what caused the eggs in some breeds to turn this unusual colour.
The team has identified the genetic mutation which first produced the blue egg in native South American chicken, the Mapuche fowl, and their European descendants, Araucana between 200 and 500 years ago.
The results could inform future research into agricultural breeding techniques if demand for the blue egg continues to grow.
The scientists used the unique genetic resources conserved by heritage or `fancy` poultry breeders to identify at fine resolution the exact location of the mutation in the genome in blue egg laying chicken.
Further genomic study revealed the genetic cause of the blue coloured egg shell ? And that is because of an ancient harmless retrovirus in the domestic chicken.
A retrovirus is a virus that, unlike most cellular organisms, carries its genetic blueprint in the form of ribonucleic acid (RNA).
It reproduces itself in a host cell using a special enzyme called `reverse transcriptase` which transcribes RNA into deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
This makes it possible for genetic material from a retrovirus to become permanently incorporated into the DNA of an infected cell.
In this case, the retrovirus` effect was to trigger an accumulation of a green-blue bile pigment called biliverdin in the eggshell as the egg develops in the hen.
"An unexpected find was the unique integration sites for the retrovirus in South American/European and Asian chickens. It shows the importance of viruses in shaping evolution and diversity of species," lead researcher, David Wragg, said.
"It`s quite remarkable, retroviruses are generally considered to integrate at random locations in the genome, and so the chance of a retrovirus integrating at more or less the same location in two chicken populations is extremely low.
"Moreover, when appearing in the population, the unusual egg colouration must have attracted the attention of the owners, who must be praised for having selected the trait in subsequent breeding," Wragg said.
The four-year research project was published in the journal PLOS ONE.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- India- America joint military exercise begins in Ranikhet
- Exclusive: This is what Kashmir's stone pelters have to say!
- India to activate laser walls on LOC to stop infiltration
- Panel discussion on 'Most Favoured Nation' status India accorded to Pakistan in 1996
- Former bureaucrat BK Bansal commits suicide along with his son at Delhi residence
- SETBACK! Sedition case against 200 Congress workers for shouting 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans during rally for Uri martyrs
- Did Arvind Kejriwal tweet in favour of Pakistan over Uri attacks? Here is what Twitter says
- Rameez Raja picks all-time XI - Three Indians, but just one Pakistani make it to the list
- This Hindu-dominated village in West Bengal is not allowed to organise Durga Puja as Muslims don't want it
- WATCH: At 430/9, India needed 24 runs to avoid follow on. What Kapil Dev did next will blow your mind!