Chromosome Research

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 71–83 | Cite as

Comparative cytogenomics of poultry: mapping of single gene and repeat loci in the Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica)

  • Marla C. McPherson
  • Charmaine M. Robinson
  • Lida P. Gehlen
  • Mary E. Delany
Research Article


Well-characterized molecular and cytogenetic maps are yet to be established in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica). The aim of the current study was to cytogenetically map and determine linkage of specific genes and gene complexes in Japanese quail through the use of chicken (Gallus gallus) and turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) genomic DNA probes and conduct a comparative study among the three genomes. Chicken and turkey clones were used as probes on mitotic metaphase and meiotic pachytene stage chromosomes of the three species for the purpose of high-resolution fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The genes and complexes studied included telomerase RNA (TR), telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), 5S rDNA, 18S-5.8S-28S rDNA (i.e., nucleolus organizer region (NOR)), and the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The telomeric profile of Japanese quail was investigated through the use of FISH with a TTAGGG-PNA probe. A range of telomeric array sizes were confirmed as found for the other poultry species. Three NOR loci were identified in Japanese quail, and single loci each for TR, TERT, 5S rDNA and the MHC-B. The MHC-B and one NOR locus were linked on a microchromosome in Japanese quail. We confirmed physical linkage of 5S rDNA and the TR gene on an intermediate-sized chromosome in quail, similar to both chicken and turkey. TERT localized to CJA 2 in quail and the orthologous chromosome region in chicken (GGA 2) and in turkey (MGA 3). The cytogenetic profile of Japanese quail was further developed by this study and synteny was identified among the three poultry species.


Japanese Quail Chicken Turkey Telomere Telomerase Ribosomal DNA Major Histocompatibility Complex 



Bacterial artificial chromosome


Chicken embryo


Chicken embryo fibroblast


Coturnix japonica




Embryonic day or days of embryogenesis


External transcribed spacer


Fluorescence in situ hybridization


Gallus gallus


Meleagris gallopavo


Major histocompatibility complex


Million years


Nucleolus organizer region


Peptide nucleic acid


Ribosomal DNA


Turkey embryo fibroblast


Telomerase reverse transcriptase


Telomerase RNA


University of California, Davis



The authors greatly appreciate the research contributions of Andrew Jiang, Thomas H. O’Hare, and Elizabeth A. Robb. Research was funded by United States Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture multistate and nation projects: National Research Support Program-8 (CA-D*-ASC-7233-RR), NC-1170 (CA-D*-ASC-6414-RR), and NE-1034 (CA-D*-ASC-7281-RR). We appreciate the support of the California Agricultural Experiment Station and the Department of Animal Science and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

Ethical standards

The authors declare that all experiments performed in this study comply with the current laws of the USA. All institutional and national guidelines for the care and use of laboratory animals were followed.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marla C. McPherson
    • 1
  • Charmaine M. Robinson
    • 1
  • Lida P. Gehlen
    • 1
  • Mary E. Delany
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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