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"The Gene that Makes Female Birds Drab"Image by Kelly Finan (visit gallery »)
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TitleThe Gene that Makes Female Birds Drab Contact
»Kelly Finan DescriptionIn some finch species, BCO2, a gene that encodes a carotenoid-destroying enzyme, is expressed in many female finch feathers but not in many male feathers. This generates dramatic sexual dichromatism that makes males dazzle while females look relatively drab. In common canaries, which are not sexually dichromatic, both males and females have little BCO2 expression in their feathers. Writing by Rachael Moeller Gorman. Published in The Scientist, September 2020. Keywordsfeathers, feather biology, BCO2, gene, carotenoid, sexual dimorphism, sexual dichromatism, canary, finch, serin, siskin, bird Media Color Categories Nature, Science Subject(s) Animal, Birds, Vertebrates, Anatomical, Molecular, Editorial, Processes