English Trumpeter Pigeon with Shell Crest (image) University of Utah 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. Usage Restrictions Credit required. Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.