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The quail genome: insights into social behaviour, seasonal biology and infectious disease response

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Simon Boitard
  • Angela F Danner
  • Heather L Forrest
  • David Gourichon
  • Jerome Gros
  • LaDeana W Hillier
  • Thierry Jaffredo
  • Hanane Khoury
  • Rusty Lansford
  • Christine Leterrier
  • Andrew Loudon
  • Andrew S Mason
  • Francis Minvielle
  • Patrick Minx
  • Frédérique Pitel
  • J Patrick Seiler
  • Tsuyoshi Shimmura
  • Chad Tomlinson
  • Alain Vignal
  • Robert G Webster
  • Takashi Yoshimura
  • Wesley C Warren

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    Rights statement: © The Author(s). 2020 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2020


BACKGROUND: The Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) is a popular domestic poultry species and an increasingly significant model species in avian developmental, behavioural and disease research.

RESULTS: We have produced a high-quality quail genome sequence, spanning 0.93 Gb assigned to 33 chromosomes. In terms of contiguity, assembly statistics, gene content and chromosomal organisation, the quail genome shows high similarity to the chicken genome. We demonstrate the utility of this genome through three diverse applications. First, we identify selection signatures and candidate genes associated with social behaviour in the quail genome, an important agricultural and domestication trait. Second, we investigate the effects and interaction of photoperiod and temperature on the transcriptome of the quail medial basal hypothalamus, revealing key mechanisms of photoperiodism. Finally, we investigate the response of quail to H5N1 influenza infection. In quail lung, many critical immune genes and pathways were downregulated after H5N1 infection, and this may be key to the susceptibility of quail to H5N1.

CONCLUSIONS: We have produced a high-quality genome of the quail which will facilitate further studies into diverse research questions using the quail as a model avian species.

    Research areas

  • Coturnix japonica, Quail, Genome, Influenza, Seasonality, Photoperiod, Bird flu, H5N1

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