Comparative painting reveals strong chromosome homology over 80 million years of bird evolution.
Chickens and the great flightless emu belong to two distantly related orders of birds in the carinate and ratite subclasses that diverged at least 80 million years ago. In the first ZOO-FISH study between bird species, we hybridized single chromosome paints from the chicken (Gallus domesticus) onto the emu chromosomes. We found that the nine macrochromosomes show remarkable homology between the two species, indicating strong conservation of karyotype through evolution. One chicken macrochromosome (4) was represented by a macro- and a microchromosome in the emu, suggesting that microchromosomes and macrochromosomes are interconvertible. The chicken Z chromosome paint hybridized to the emu Z and most of the W, confirming that ratite sex chromosomes are largely homologous; the centromeric region of the W which hybridized weakly may represent the location of the sex determining gene(s).
Chromosome Res. 1999;7(4):289-95.
Founded in 1989, The American Emu Association is a non-profit trade association representing breeders, producers and marketers of emu meat, oil and other emu co-products. The emu industry is an alternative agricultural industry, dominated by the small farmer, who is devoted to humane and environmentally positive practices that will produce beneficial products for society. For more information about the American Emu Association (AEA) or the emu industry visit https://aea-emu.org
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