Chicken genome: The genome of the Red Jungle Fowl, Gallus gallus, the ancestor of domestic chickens, comprising about 1 billion DNA base pairs. The Gallus gallus genome was the first avian genome to be sequenced.
A team led by Richard Wilson from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis assembled this genome in 2004. In addition, an international team led by the Beijing Genomics Institute in China created a map of genetic variation for three different strains of domestic chickens. The strains were a broiler strain from the United Kingdom, a layer strain from Sweden and a Silkie strain from China. To make the map, researchers identified and analyzed about 2 million genetic variation sites, mostly single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
The sequencing of the chicken genome was accelerated because of outbreaks of avian flu, underscoring the need to learn more about the chicken genome and how genetic variation may play a role in the susceptibility of different strains to the disease. In addition to its economic value as a source of eggs and meat, the chicken is widely used in biomedical research. The chicken is well positioned from an evolutionary standpoint to provide an intermediate perspective between mammals, such as humans, and lower vertebrates, such as fish.