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The role of mitochondrial DNA to determine the origin of domestic chicken
- DI LORENZO, P., CECCOBELLI, S., PANELLA, F., ATTARD, G., LASAGNA, E.
- World's poultry science journal 2015 v.71 no.2 pp. 311-318
- Gallus gallus, ancestry, chicken breeds, chickens, domestication, gene flow, genetic variation, mitochondrial DNA, mitochondrial genes, nucleotide sequences, provenance, sequence diversity, trade, India, South East Asia
- Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is has recently lost relevance especially when utilised to study species that are characterised with a history of several migrations. Nonetheless, mtDNA can still represents a useful additional tool in the study of molecular genetic diversity. The reason for the adoption of mtDNA is that it is easy to amplify because it appears in multiple copies in the cells and the mitochondrial gene content is strongly conserved across generations. Thousands of published studies have reached conclusions about population history, patterns of gene flow, genetic structure, and species limits, on the basis of mtDNA sequence variation. MtDNA has been used to study phylo-geographic structure of avian species, and to identify the number of maternal lineages and their geographic origins. Most studies of chicken mtDNA rely on sequences of partial control region but recent researches used the complete mtDNA genome to reconstruct the history of animal domestication. The first genetic study on mtDNA suggests that the Indochinese Red Junglefowl subspecies Gallus gallus gallus is the primary ancestor of the domestic chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus). Other studies showed that at least three subspecies of Gallus gallus were enrolled in the origin of domestic chicken breeds, and that there may be at least two domestication centres: one in Southeast Asia and one in the Indian subcontinent. The authors suggested nine highly divergent clades (named clade A-I) related to geographical distribution in a wide range of domestic chickens and Red Junglefowls across Eurasian regions. Understanding when chickens were transported out of domestication centres and the directions in which they were moved provides information about prehistoric human migration, trade routes and cultural diffusion. MtDNA has been used to infer regions of domestication and to identify the number of maternal lineages and their geographic origins in macroevolution studies.