Succeeded in growing feathers from the legs by activating the chicken 'Sonic Hedgehog gene'
Sonic hedgehog ' is greatly involved in the development of the limbs of living things. A research team at the University of Geneva succeeded in growing feathers from legs originally covered with scaly skin by expressing the chicken's Sonic Hedgehog gene.
A gene called '
Transient agonism of the sonic hedgehog pathway triggers a permanent transition of skin appendage fate in the chicken embryo |
Scales or feathers? It all comes down to a few genes - Medias - UNIGE
Most of the chicken's body is covered with feathers, but the legs are covered with scaly skin (leg scales). Feathers and leg scales are differentiated from the same cells, and whether they become feathers or leg scales is determined by differences in genes expressed during the developmental stage. A research team at the University of Geneva conducted an experiment to change the expression level of the Sonic Hedgehog gene in order to elucidate the mechanism that determines the development of feathers and legs. The Sonic Hedgehog gene is a gene named after the popular character 'Sonic the Hedgehog'.
To express the Sonic Hedgehog gene, chicken eggs must be injected with an expression-inducing solution at the appropriate site. The research team identified the injection point of the solution by `` shining a strong light on the egg ''.
Smoothened Agonist (SAG) ' and 'dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)'.
It looks like this when injecting the solution. The injected solution is a mixture of '
As a result of the experiment, the chicken legs (right) born from eggs injected with the solution were covered with feathers instead of leg scales. It was also confirmed that no special treatment was given after injecting the solution into the egg, and that the change to feathers could be maintained without the need for continuous treatment.
Professor Michelle Milinkovich , a member of the research team, said, ``This study shows that evolution from scales to feathers does not require major changes in the 'genome composition,' and the expression level of the Sonic Hedgehog gene It shows that the change in causes the development of feathers, ”he points out that the Sonic hedgehog gene has important implications for elucidating the mechanism of animal evolution.