Meet the chic Ayam Cemani chicken: black is the color of not only its feathers but also its tongue, organs, and bones. Spooky. The pitch-black poultry, which hails from Java, Indonesia, has an inky color inside and out because of a condition called fibromelanosis, or dermal hyperpigmentation. The excessive pigment is a result of a complex mutation involving the EDN3 gene, which codes for endothelin-3, a peptide that controls the rapid reproduction of melanoblasts (PLOS One 2017, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0173147). Melanoblasts are embryological cells that develop into melanocytes—the cells responsible for producing melanin, a dark pigment that colors skin, eyes, and even feathers. In the Ayam Cemani embryo, the EDN3 gene is duplicated, leading to an upregulation of endothelin-3, Leif Andersson, a professor of functional genomics at Uppsala University, tells Newscripts.
by Melissa Gilden |
November 09, 2019