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Journal of Applied Genetics 47(1), 2006, pp. 63-66

Polymorphism within the LDHA gene in the homing and non-homing pigeons

Andrzej Dybus, Jacek Pijanka, Yeong-Hsiang Cheng, Fangmiin Sheen, Wilhelm Grzesiak, Magdalena Muszynska

Abstract: A total of 445 domestic pigeons were genotyped for the lactate dehydrogenase (LDHA) gene. Crude DNA was isolated from blood samples and feathers. Two polymorphic sites were identified in intron 6: one near the splice donor site GT is called site H and the other near the splice acceptor site is called site B. Interestingly, the nucleotide changes of both these sites associate perfectly with the A and B alleles of HaeIII polymorphism: the A allele with nucleotide A of site H and nucleotide T of site B; while the B allele with nucleotide G of site H and nucleotide G of site B. In this study, we have identified the molecular difference between alleles A and B of the pigeon LDHA gene. The difference at site H in intron 6 explains the HaeIII polymorphism. The frequencies of LDHAAB and LDHABB genotypes between the analysed groups differ significantly (P < 0.001); the LDHAA allele was more frequent in the groups of pigeons with elevated homing performance (P < 0.001). The functional difference may be due to the change at site B, the potential splice branch site. Since LDHA activity is associated with the homing ability, it is possible that during the process of selection for the homing ability, the LDHAA allele has been selected, and is more prevalent in the top-racing groups.

Key words: Key words: Columba livia var. domestica, LDHA gene, PCR-RFLP.

Correspondence: A. Dybus, Laboratory of Molecular Cytogenetics, Agriculture University, Doktora Judyma 12, 71-460 Szczecin, Poland, e-mail:

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