The evolutionary origin of long-crowing chicken: Its evolutionary relationship with fighting cocks disclosed by the mtDNA sequence analysis

Tomoyoshi Komiyama, Kazuho Ikeo, Takashi Gojobori*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chickens with exceptionally long crow are often favored all over the world, and connoisseur breeders have bred certain types of chicken exclusively for this trait. In Japan, three chicken varieties have been specifically bred to develop an exceptionally long crow of over 15 s. Although these three long-crowing chickens, Naganakidori, are honored as heritage varieties of Japan, the domestication process and genealogical origin of long-crowing chickens remain unclear. The purpose of this study is to clarify these issues using nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial DNA D-loop region. Blood samples from a total of nine long-crowing chickens and 74 chickens from 11 Japanese native varieties were collected. DNA sequence data of two Junglefowl species were also collected from the International DNA database (DDBJ /EMBL/GenBank) for use as the outgroup. A phylogenetic tree was then constructed revealing that all three Naganakidori varieties were monophyletic and originated from a fighting cock, a Shamo, for cockfighting. These results suggest that these three long-crowing chickens share a common origin in spite of their conspicuously different characters, and that human cultures favoring long-crowing chickens might have been preceded by a tradition of cockfighting. Moreover, these long-crowing varieties first separated from the fighting cocks of Okinawa, which is geographically closer to Southern China and Indochina than Mainland Japan (Honshu/Kyushu). This implies that Japanese long-crowing chickens were first brought to Mainland Japan as fighting cocks from the surrounding regions of Southern China or Indochina and through Okinawa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-99
Number of pages9
JournalGene
Volume333
Issue numberSUPPL.
DOIs
StatePublished - May 26 2004

Keywords

  • D-loop
  • Domestication
  • Mitochondorial DNA
  • Molecular phylogeny
  • Naganakidori
  • Okinawa
  • Shamo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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