Discovery of a new nucleotide substitution in the MC1R gene and haplotype distribution in native and non-Japanese chicken breeds

M. H. Kabir, A. Takenouchi, M. I. Haqani, Y. Nakamura, S. Takeuchi, M. Tsudzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Melanocortin 1-receptor (MC1R) is one of the major genes that controls chicken plumage colour. In this study, we investigated the sequence and haplotype distribution of the MC1R gene in native Japanese chickens, along with non-Japanese chicken breeds. In total, 732 and 155 chickens from 30 Japanese and eight non-Japanese breeds respectively were used. Three synonymous and 11 non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions were detected, resulting in 15 haplotypes (H0–H14). Of these, three were newly found haplotypes (H9, H13 and H14), of which one (H9) was composed of known substitutions C69T, T212C, G274A and G636A. The second one (H13) possessed newly found non-synonymous substitution C919G, apart from the known substitutions C69T, G178A, G274A, G636A and T637C. The third one (H14) comprised a newly discovered substitution C919G in addition to the known C69T, G274A and G409A substitutions. The homozygote for this new haplotype exhibited wt like plumage despite the presence of G274A. In addition to discovering a new nucleotide substitution (C919G) and three new haplotypes, we defined the plumage colour of the bird that was homozygous for the A644C substitution (H5 haplotype) as wheaten-like for the first time; although the substitution has been already reported, its effect was not revealed. Besides detecting the new plumage colour, we also confirmed that the A427G and G274A substitutions contribute in expressing brownish and black plumage colour respectively, as reported by the previous studies. Moreover, we confirmed that the buttercup allele does not express black plumage despite possessing a G274A substitution, under the suppression effect of A644C. In contrast, the birds homozygous for the birchen allele presented solid black plumage, which was contradictory to the previous reports. In conclusion, we revealed a large diversity in the MC1R gene of native Japanese chicken breeds, along with the discovery of a new non-synonymous nucleotide substitution (C919G) and three novel haplotypes (H9, H13 and H14).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-248
Number of pages14
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2020


  • MC1R
  • chickens
  • haplotype
  • nucleotide substitution
  • plumage colour

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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