Tuesday, 17 June 2008
CDFD study: Indian murghi and chicken separate
June 17, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 16: The Indian murghi (jungle fowl) not only tastes good but also tells the genetic history of other Indian birds, particularly the chicken.
A study conducted by the city-based Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics reveals that domestication of chicken has occurred independently in different locations of Asia including India. But the Indian chicken has not evolved from the Indian murghi as is commonly believed.
The Indian murghi (Gallus gallus murghi) is relatively pure and is not the parent of the Indian chicken. The CDFD study has shown that the red jungle fowl or Indian murghi and domestic birds do not hybridise in nature.
"Domestication of chicken is believed to have occurred in Southeast Asia, especially in Indus valley. However, non-inclusion of Indian red jungle fowl in previous studies has left a big gap in understanding the relationship of this major group of birds. In the present study, we addressed this issue by analysing 76 Indian birds
that included 56 Gallus gallus murghi, 16 Gallus gallus domesticus (domestic chicken) and four Gallus sonneratii (grey jungle fowl).
We also compared the D-loop sequences of Indian birds with those of 779 birds obtained from GenBank. Our results suggest that the domestication of chicken has occurred independently in different locations of Asia including India," according to CDFD's J Nagaraju.
The study was conducted jointly by Nagaraju, K Sriramana, M Muralidhar and RD Jakati.
Further, the study also suggested that the chicken populations have undergone population expansion, especially in the Indus valley.
Archaeological findings have indicated that the "mother of all poultry" is the Southeast Asian Red jungle fowl or Gallus gallus. Since domestication of chicken has been observed at the Indus valley as early as 3,200 BC, it is believed to be the epicentre of chicken domestication.
There was very rare genetic exchange between the red jungle fowl and domestic chicken populations, at least in recent history. A Maximum Likelihood tree obtained from the microsatellite data showed a clear separation of Gallus gallus domesticus from the Gallus gallus murghi, with Gallus sonneratii as an outgroup suggesting the genetic distinctness of Gallus gallus murghi.
The scientists also constructed a genetic distance based neighbour-joining tree to obtain the genetic relationship among Indian birds.
The result clearly pointed to the fact that hybridisation between Indian chicken and Indian red jungle fowl in the wild is extremely rare.
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