Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Mutations Upstream of the TBX5 and PITX1 Transcription Factor Genes Are Associated with Feathered Legs in the Domestic Chicken

Li, Jingyi; Lee, MiOk; Davis, Brian W.; Lamichhaney, Sangeet; Dorshorst, Ben J.; Siegel, Paul B.; Andersson, Leif

Abstract

Feathered leg is a trait in domestic chickens that has undergone intense selection by fancy breeders. Previous studies have shown that two major loci controlling feathered leg are located on chromosomes 13 and 15. Here, we present genetic evidence for the identification of candidate causal mutations at these loci. This was accomplished by combining classical linkage mapping using an experimental cross segregating for feathered leg and high-resolution identical-by-descent mapping using whole-genome sequence data from 167 samples of chicken with or without feathered legs. The first predicted causal mutation is a single-base change located 25 kb upstream of the gene for the forelimb-specific transcription factor TBX5 on chromosome 15. The second is a 17.7-kb deletion located similar to 200kb upstream of the gene for the hindlimb-specific transcription factor PITX1 on chromosome 13. These mutations are predicted to activate TBX5 and repress PITX1 expression, respectively. The study reveals a remarkable convergence in the evolution of the feathered-leg phenotype in domestic chickens and domestic pigeons, as this phenotype is caused by noncoding mutations upstream of the same two genes. Furthermore, the PITX1 causal variants are large overlapping deletions, 17.7 kb in chicken and 44 kb in pigeons. The results of the present study are consistent with the previously proposed model for pigeon that feathered leg is caused by reduced PITX1 expression and ectopic expression of TBX5 in hindlimb buds resulting in a shift of limb identity from hindlimb to more forelimb-like identity.

Keywords

chicken; feathered-leg; linkage mapping; IBD mapping; TBX5; PITX1

Published in

Molecular Biology and Evolution
2020, volume: 37, number: 9, pages: 2477-2486
Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS

Authors' information

Li, Jingyi
Texas AandM University College Station
Li, Jingyi
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Lee, MiOk
Texas AandM University College Station
Davis, Brian W.
Texas AandM University College Station
Lamichhaney, Sangeet
Uppsala University
Dorshorst, Ben J.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Siegel, Paul B.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Andersson, Leif
Texas A&M University
Andersson, Leif
Uppsala University
Andersson, Leif
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics

UKÄ Subject classification

Evolutionary Biology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msaa093

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/108274