Scientists at the University of Sheffield have played a major role in sequencing the chicken genome, published in Nature and Genome Research on Thursday 9 December. The chicken is the first farm animal to be successfully sequenced, as well as being the first bird.
The Sheffield team were responsible for determining the sequences of messenger RNAs, which have allowed an international team of scientists to analyse the chicken genome sequence and identify most chicken genes.
The team have also contributed to an analysis of the genetic differences in three types of chicken, which has implications for the food industry. They examined the genomic sequence for a meat producing chicken (broiler), an egg producing chicken (layer), an ornamental chicken called the Silkie and the genome sequence for an ancestral chicken called the red jungle fowl. This research found that, despite many years of intensive breeding, modern food production chickens retain much of the genetic diversity found in their wild ancestors.
Lorna Branton | alfa
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