Genomes of African Chickens Show Evolutionary Response to Environmental Stress

  • Damarius S. Fleming (Iowa State University)
  • James E. Koltes (University of Arkansas)
  • Alyssa D. Markey (The Maschoffs)
  • Carl J. Schmidt (University of Delaware)
  • Chris M. Ashwell (North Carolina State University)
  • Max F. Rothschild (Iowa State University)
  • Michael E. Persia (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University)
  • James M Reecy (Iowa State University)
  • Susan J. Lamont (Iowa State University)


The effect of environmental stress on genomic evolution was studied using three populations of chickens, two ecotypes (Uganda and Rwanda) indigenous to Africa and one that was imported to Africa from India (Kuroiler). The chickens (N=196) were genotyped and then analyzed for the presence of genes and gene regions thought to be under selection by environmental stressors that has allowed them to survive in the presence of such circumstances. Through the use of various statistical and annotative approaches we were able to determine that all three populations show selection pressure for variants near genes related to oxidative stress, which can be brought upon by climate and poor food resources. Additionally selection for kinase activity, and calcium ion movement were also detected. Data also showed that all populations harbor fixed regions of the genome that overlap with known quantitative trait loci (QTL) related to commercial and behavioral traits. Overall, this study provides information on genes possibly connected to survival in stressful environments and has the potential to be used as a model for finding genomic regions of tolerance in commercial populations.

How to Cite:

Fleming, D. S., Koltes, J. E., Markey, A. D., Schmidt, C. J., Ashwell, C. M., Rothschild, M. F., Persia, M. E., Reecy, J. M. & Lamont, S. J., (2016) “Genomes of African Chickens Show Evolutionary Response to Environmental Stress”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 13(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/ans_air-180814-231

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Published on
01 Jan 2016
Peer Reviewed