Critical components of duck research: The origin and genetics of domestic ducks Chapter uri icon


  • Biomedical science is increasingly focused on the fine details of DNA and molecular structure, making it vital that investigators describe accurately and precisely the origins and genetics of the animals included in their studies. The chicken and the turkey, the world's most common domesticated birds, both originated from a single species, but domestic ducks have a much more convoluted history making accurate descriptions of their origin and genetics complicated. The phylogeny of the predominant domestic species, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) is especially complex. In addition, the domestication of the mallard has, on occasion, included interbreeding with other wild duck species including the Eastern spot-billed duck (Anas zonorhyncha) and the American black duck (Anas rubripes). An unrelated species, the Muscovy duck (Cairina moschata) was originally domesticated in pre-Columbian America. As a result of this complexity it is essential that any scientific papers or gene sequences pertaining to ducks, especially domestic ducks, document in considerable detail the genetic and taxonomic provenance of the birds studied. It is inappropriate to refer to these birds simply as "ducks". © 2013 by Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Tizard, I., & Brightsmith, D. J.

Book Title

  • Ducks: Habitat, Behavior and Diseases

publication date

  • January 2013