The Molecular Determination of a Bird’s Pattern

Chapter

Abstract

When we contemplate a bird we only see the final product of an enormous succession of molecular interactions. From the fertilized egg to the adult organism millions of cell divisions take place, but a contrary phenomenon – programmed cell death – is equally necessary to give the final shape to every organ. Ceramids are among the molecules that are responsible for directing this program.

Equally well ordered is the growth of bird feathers and their replacement. Two well defined genes determine the growth of feathers, their differentiation and the time at which they are formed and discarded. Moreover hormones control their size, shape and colour. The chemical pigments in feathers do not have a random location, but are guided by proteins and other molecules, to their final destination on the bird’s body.

Keywords

Bone Morphogenetic Protein Sonic Hedgehog Plumage Coloration Tail Feather Copper Carbonate 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Abzhanov A et al (2006) The calmodulin pathway and evolution of elongated beak morphology in Darwin’s finches. Nature 442:563–567PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Adams JM, Cory S (1998) The Bcl-2 protein family: arbiters of cell survival. Science 281:1322–1326PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bluhm CK (1988) Temporal patterns of pair formation and reproduction in annual cycles and associated endocrinology in waterfowl. In: Johnston RF (ed) Current ornithology, vol 5. Plenum Press, New York, pp 123–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Burtt EH Jr et al (2010) Colourful parrot feathers resist bacterial degradation. Biol Lett 7:214–216PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carrington C, Ambros V (2003) Role of microRNAs in plant and animal development. Science 301:336–338PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen PJ et al (1998) An exceptionally well-preserved theropod dinosaur from the Yixian formation of China. Nature 391:147–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Doucet SM et al (2006) Iridescent plumage in satin bowerbirds: structure, mechanisms and nanostructural predictors of individual variation in colour. J Exp Biol 209(2):380–390PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eckert R, Randall D (1978) Animal physiology. W.H. Freeman and Company, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  9. Elmore S (2007) Apoptosis: a review of programmed cell death. Toxicol Pathol 35:495–516PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gehring WJ et al (2009) Evolution of the Hox gene complex from an evolutionary ground state. Curr Top Dev Biol 88:35–61PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gilbert SF (2000) Developmental biology. Sinauer Associates Publ., SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  12. Greenspan RJ et al (1994) Group report: how do genes set up behaviors? In: Greenspan RJ, Kyriacou CP (eds) Flexibility and constraint in behavioral systems. Wiley, Chichester, pp 65–80Google Scholar
  13. Ji Q et al (1998) Two feathered dinosaurs from northeast China. Nature 393:753–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kelsh RN et al (2009) Stripes and belly-spots – a review of pigment cell morphogenesis in vertebrates. Semin Cell Dev Biol 20:90–104PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Liang H et al (2003) Ceramides modulate programmed cell death in plants. Genes Dev 17:2636–2641PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Lind J et al (2010) Impaired predator evasion in the life history of birds: behavioral and physiological adaptations to reduced flight ability. In: Thompson CF (ed) Current ornithology, vol 17, pp 1–30Google Scholar
  17. McGraw KJ (2004) Multiple UV reflectance peaks in the iridescent neck feathers of pigeons. Naturwissenschaften 91(3):125–129PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Norell M et al (2002) Modern feathers on a non-avian dinosaur. Nature 416:36–37PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Plotkin HC, Odling-Smee FJ (1981) A multiple-level model of evolution and its implications for sociobiology. Behav Brain Sci 4:225–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pough FH et al (2005) Vertebrate life. Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJGoogle Scholar
  21. Prum RO, Brush AH (2003) Which came first, the feather or the bird? Sci Am 60–69Google Scholar
  22. Prum RO, Torres RH (2003) A Fourier tool for the analysis of coherent light scattering by bio-optical nanostructures. Integr Comp Biol 43(4):591–602PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rutz C et al (2010) The ecological significance of tool use in New Caledonian Crows. Science 329:1523–1526PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shawkey MD et al (2006) Evolutionary transitions and mechanisms of matte and iridescent plumage coloration in grackles and allies (Icteridae). J R Soc Interf 3(11):777–786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shen P et al (1995) An atlas of aromatase mRNA expression in the zebra finch brain. J Comp Neurol 360:172–184PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Stradi R et al (2001) The chemical structure of the pigments in Ara macao plumage. Comp Biochem Physiol B 130:57–63PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sulston JE et al (1983) The embryonic cell lineage of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Dev Biol 100:64–119PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Venter JC (2002) Whole-genome shotgun sequencing. In: Yudell M, DeSalle R (eds) The genomic revolution. Joseph Henry Press, Washington, DC, pp 48–63Google Scholar
  29. Xu X et al (1999) A therizinorsauroid dinosaur with integumentary structures from China. Nature 399:350–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Yu M et al (2002) The morphogenesis of feathers. Nature 420:308–312PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Yu M et al (2004) The developmental biology of feather follicles. Int J Dev Biol 48:181–191PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Zhang F, Zhou Z (2000) A primitive enantiornithine bird and the origin of feathers. Science 290:1955–1959PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell and Organism BiologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.LundSweden

Personalised recommendations