Cis -acting mutation affecting GJA5 transcription is underlying the Melanotic within-feather pigmentation pattern in chickens Academic Article uri icon


  • Significance The molecular mechanisms underlying pigmentation patterns in animals is to a large extent an unresolved mystery in biology. For example, compared with mammals, birds show a stunning diversity in pigmentation patterns. This study advances the knowledge concerning the mechanisms creating periodic pigmentation patterns in individual feathers. We show that a mutation upstream of GJA5 encoding a gap-junction protein is causing the Melanotic phenotype in domestic chickens. Melanotic affects within-feather pigmentation patterns by enhancing the contrast between dark- and light-colored regions in the feather. The result implies that cell–cell communications between melanocytes and other cells in the feather follicle play a critical role for pattern formation.

published proceedings

  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

altmetric score

  • 3.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Li, J., Lee, M., Chen, J., Davis, B. W., Dorshorst, B. J., Siegel, P. B., ... Andersson, L.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Li, Jingyi||Lee, Mi-Ok||Chen, Junfeng||Davis, Brian W||Dorshorst, Benjamin J||Siegel, Paul B||Inaba, Masafumi||Jiang, Ting-Xin||Chuong, Cheng-Ming||Andersson, Leif

publication date

  • October 2021