Supplementary Material for: Transcriptome Profile Analysis of Mechanisms of Black and White Plumage Determination in Black-Bone Chicken

Background/Aims: Melanin is a major and ubiquitous component of plumage colouration, and patterns of melanin pigmentation in birds are extremely varied. However, the molecular mechanism of pigmentation in avian plumage is still largely unknown. Methods: To elucidate the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of black and white plumage, this study takes advantage of high-throughput sequencing technology to compare differences in the transcriptome between black and white chicken feather bulbs. In total, we constructed six cDNA libraries from black (Group B) and white (Group W) feather bulbs in the dorsal plumage of Muchuan black-boned chickens. Results: A comparison between Groups B and W revealed 61 differentially expressed genes, with 47 displaying higher, and 14 displaying lower, levels of expression in white feather bulbs. Our results revealed a set of candidate genes and two potential metabolic pathways involved in black-bone chicken plumage melanogenesis. These include four homeobox genes (HOXB9, HOXC8, HOXA9, and HOXC 9), two glutathione (GSH) metabolism-related genes (CHAC1 and GPX3), and the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) signalling pathway. Two known genes, TYR and MITF, were also shown to play a role in melanin formation. Conclusion: our data provide a valuable resource for discovering genes important in plumage melanin formation and will help further elucidate the molecular mechanisms for black and white plumage.



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