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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Roosters doing hen’s job

Researchers identified roosters doing hen’s job, i.e. passing on mitochondrial DNA to his chicks. Mitochondria are energy-generating organelle in cells which carry a circular chromosome containing genes required to make mitochondria and allow them running. There had been long term rule that powerhouses of the cell are inherited only from mother. But the rule was ultimately broken in a 50 generation Virginia Tech’s White Plymouth Rock chickens.

Roosters sometimes hand mitochondria down to their chicks, DNA analysis of White Plymouth Rock chickens reveals. Usually mitochondria, energy-producing organelles in cells, are inherited from the mother.
The research was published in October, 2015 in Biology letters, where researchers determine the genetic makeup of mitochondrial genomes from 12 of the chickens. A mutation identified in ND4L gene originated in rooster passed it to his chickens.

Earlier scientists didn’t know how often mitochondria are inherited from fathers as they have seen it in some plants, sheep and even in a person. But such evidence from roosters could muddy the results of many earlier studies and in future mitochondrial DNA could be used to identify paternal lineages and determine evolutionary relationships.

Journal Source: Biology letters
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