Top 1 Biorxiv Papers Today in Zoology


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#1. Feral pigeon populations: their gene pool and links with local domestic breeds
Dimitri Giunchi, Nadia Mucci, Daniele Bigi, Chiara Mengoni, N. Emilio Baldaccini
Columba livia is a wild bird whose domestication has led to a large number of pigeon breeds. The occasional loss or straying of domestic birds determined the origin of feral pigeons, which are now widespread all around the world. In this study, we assumed that the main contribution to feral populations is provided by domestic breeds reared in the same areas. We tested this hypothesis by analysing the variability of 12 microsatellite loci in nine Italian feral populations sampled in areas with different intensities of breeding and selecting domestic breeds. We included in the analysis samples belonging to domestic lineages commonly bred in Italy. Feral populations located in regions with a long-lasting tradition of pigeon breeding showed a high level of admixture with domestic breeds, in particular with Racing Homer and Piacentino. Ferals from Bolzano, Venice and Sassari were characterized by unique genetic components, almost all of which are not shared by other feral populations and by the considered domestic breeds. Our results...
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