Skeletal variation in bird domestication: limb proportions and sternum in chicken, with comparisons to mallard ducks and Muscovy ducks.

Herrera-Castillo, Carlos Manuel; Geiger, Madeleine; Núñez-León, Daniel; Nagashima, Hiroshi; Gebhardt-Henrich, Sabine; Toscano, Michael; Sanchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2022). Skeletal variation in bird domestication: limb proportions and sternum in chicken, with comparisons to mallard ducks and Muscovy ducks. PeerJ, 10(e13229), e13229. PeerJ, Ltd 10.7717/peerj.13229

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Background

Domestication, including selective breeding, can lead to morphological changes of biomechanical relevance. In birds, limb proportions and sternum characteristics are of great importance and have been studied in the past for their relation with flight, terrestrial locomotion and animal welfare. In this work we studied the effects of domestication and breed formation in limb proportions and sternum characteristics in chicken (Gallus gallus), mallard ducks (Anas plathyrhynchos) and Muscovy ducks (Cairina moschata).

Methods

First, we quantified the proportional length of three long bones of the forelimb (humerus, radius, and carpometacarpus) and the hind limb (femur, tibiotarsus, and tarsometatarsus) in domestic chickens, mallard ducks, and Muscovy ducks and their wild counterparts. For this, we took linear measurements of these bones and compared their proportions in the wild vs. the domestic group in each species. In chicken, these comparisons could also be conducted among different breeds. We then evaluated the proportional differences in the context of static and ontogenetic allometry. Further, we compared discrete sternum characteristics in red jungle fowl and chicken breeds. In total, we examined limb bones of 287 specimens and keel bones of 63 specimens.

Results

We found a lack of significant change in the proportions of limb bones of chicken and Muscovy duck due to domestication, but significant differences in the case of mallard ducks. Variation of evolvability, allometric scaling, and heterochrony may serve to describe some of the patterns of change we report. Flight capacity loss in mallard ducks resulting from domestication may have a relation with the difference in limb proportions. The lack of variation in proportions that could distinguish domestic from wild forms of chicken and Muscovy ducks may reflect no selection for flight capacity during the domestication process in these groups. In chicken, some of the differences identified in the traits discussed are breed-dependent. The study of the sternum revealed that the condition of crooked keel was not unique to domestic chicken, that some sternal characteristics were more frequent in certain chicken breeds than in others, and that overall there were no keel characteristics that are unique for certain chicken breeds. Despite some similar morphological changes identified across species, this study highlights the lack of universal patterns in domestication and breed formation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute > Animal Welfare Division
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Gebhardt, Sabine and Toscano, Michael Jeffrey

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

2167-8359

Publisher:

PeerJ, Ltd

Language:

English

Submitter:

Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

04 May 2022 09:33

Last Modified:

08 May 2022 02:04

Publisher DOI:

10.7717/peerj.13229

PubMed ID:

35502208

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Allometry Anas plathyrhynchos Breed formation Cairina moschata Domestication Gallus gallus Limb proportions

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/169715

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/169715

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