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The Domestic BCO2 Allele Buffers Low-Carotenoid Diets in Chickens: Possible Fitness Increase Through Species Hybridization
Uppsala Univ, Sweden.
Reneco Int Wildlife Consultants, U Arab Emirates.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2019 (English)In: Genetics, ISSN 0016-6731, E-ISSN 1943-2631, Vol. 212, no 4, p. 1445-1452Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Domestic animals are adapted to conditions vastly different from those of their wild ancestors, and this is particularly true for their diets. The most numerous of all domestic species, the chicken, originated from the Red Junglefowl (RJF), a native of subtropical forests in Southeast Asia. Surprisingly however, in domestic chicken breeds, a common haplotype of the beta-carotene oxygenase 2 (BCO2) gene, which is involved in carotenoid metabolism, is introgressed from a related species, the Gray Junglefowl, and has been under strong selective pressure during domestication. This suggests that a hybridization event may have conferred a fitness advantage on chickens carrying the derived allele. To investigate the possible biological function of the introgressed BCO2 allele in chicken, we introgressed the ancestral BCO2 allele into domestic White Leghorn chickens. We measured gene expression as well as carotenoid accumulation in skin and eggs of chickens carrying either the ancestral or the derived BCO2 allele. The derived haplotype was associated with down-regulation of BCO2 in skin, muscle, and adipose tissue, but not in liver or duodenum, indicating that carotenoid accumulation occurred in the tissues with reduced gene expression. Most importantly, we found that hens with the derived BCO2 genotype were capable of allocating stored carotenoids to their eggs, suggesting a functional benefit through buffering any shortage in the diet during egg production. Nevertheless, it is of interest that loss of function mutations in BCO2 gene are prevalent in other domesticates including cows, rabbits, and sheep, and, given the importance of carotenoids in development, reproduction, and immunity, it is possible that derived BCO2 alleles may provide a general mechanism in multiple domestic species to deal with higher demand for carotenoids in an environment with carotenoid shortage in the diet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
GENETICS SOCIETY AMERICA , 2019. Vol. 212, no 4, p. 1445-1452
Keywords [en]
Animal domestication; species hybridization; carotenoid physiology; BCO2
National Category
Genetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-160168DOI: 10.1534/genetics.119.302258ISI: 000482224900029PubMedID: 31160321OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-160168DiVA, id: diva2:1349576
Note

Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council (VR) [2015-05444, 2017-06218]; European Research Council (ERC) [322206 GENEWELL]

Available from: 2019-09-09 Created: 2019-09-09 Last updated: 2019-09-09

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