These English trumpeter pigeons -- blue-black on the left and red on the right -- display some of the great diversity of colors among some 350 breeds of rock pigeons. University of Utah biologists discovered three major genes explain color variations in rock pigeons. In the blue-black pigeon, none of the genes have mutations. The red bird is that color because it has a mutant version of a gene named Sox10. The same genes are involved in making some people susceptible to skin cancer and others develop albinism, or a lack of pigment.