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Contact: Lee J. Siegel
University of Utah

English Trumpeter Pigeon with Shell Crest

Caption: A kind of head ornamentation known as a shell crest is seen on this English trumpeter, one of some 350 breeds of rock pigeon, one of the most diverse bird species on Earth with breeds of various sizes, shapes, colors, color patterns, beaks and feather arrangements. A research team, led by the University of Utah and BGI-Shenzen in China, decoded the genome or genetic blueprint of the rock pigeon and used a new method to show that a single gene mutation appears to make head and neck feathers grow upward instead of downward to form head crests in numerous rock pigeon breeds.

Credit: Michael D. Shapiro, University of Utah.

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Related news release: Mutant gene gives pigeons fancy hairdos

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