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Forskningsartikel2021Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Effects of the domestic thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) variant on the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and behavior in chicken

Fallahshahroudi, Amir; Johnsson, Martin; Sorato, Enrico; Ubhayasekera, S. J. Kumari A.; Bergquist, Jonas; Altimiras, Jordi; Jensen, Per


Domestic chickens are less fearful, have a faster sexual development, grow bigger, and lay more eggs than their primary ancestor, the red junglefowl. Several candidate genetic variants selected during domestication have been identified, but only a few studies have directly linked them with distinct phenotypic traits. Notably, a variant of the thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) gene has been under strong positive selection over the past millennium, but it's function and mechanisms of action are still largely unresolved. We therefore assessed the abundance of the domestic TSHR variant and possible genomic selection signatures in an extensive data set comprising multiple commercial and village chicken populations as well as wild-living extant members of the genus Gallus. Furthermore, by mean of extensive backcrossing we introgressed the wild-type TSHR variant from red junglefowl into domestic White Leghorn chickens and investigated gene expression, hormone levels, cold adaptation, and behavior in chickens possessing either the wild-type or domestic TSHR variant. While the domestic TSHR was the most common variant in all studied domestic populations and in one of two red junglefowl population, it was not detected in the other Gallus species. Functionally, the individuals with the domestic TSHR variant had a lower expression of the TSHR in the hypothalamus and marginally higher in the thyroid gland than wild-type TSHR individuals. Expression of TSHB and DIO2, two regulators of sexual maturity and reproduction in birds, was higher in the pituitary gland of the domestic-variant chickens. Furthermore, the domestic variant was associated with higher activity in the open field test. Our findings confirm that the spread of the domestic TSHR variant is limited to domesticated chickens, and to a lesser extent, their wild counterpart, the red junglefowl. Furthermore, we showed that effects of genetic variability in TSHR mirror key differences in gene expression and behavior previously described between the red junglefowl and domestic chicken.


animal domestication; selective sweep; hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis; animal behaviors; TSHR; chicken

Publicerad i

2021, Volym: 217, nummer: 1, artikelnummer: iyaa050