Whole genome sequencing of Gyeongbuk Araucana, a newly developed blue-egg laying chicken breed, reveals its origin and genetic characteristics

Sci Rep. 2016 May 24;6:26484. doi: 10.1038/srep26484.


Chicken, Gallus gallus, is a valuable species both as a food source and as a model organism for scientific research. Here, we sequenced the genome of Gyeongbuk Araucana, a rare chicken breed with unique phenotypic characteristics including flight ability, large body size, and laying blue-shelled eggs, to identify its genomic features. We generated genomes of Gyeongbuk Araucana, Leghorn, and Korean Native Chicken at a total of 33.5, 35.82, and 33.23 coverage depth, respectively. Along with the genomes of 12 Chinese breeds, we identified genomic variants of 16.3 million SNVs and 2.3 million InDels in mapped regions. Additionally, through assembly of unmapped reads and selective sweep, we identified candidate genes that fall into heart, vasculature and muscle development and body growth categories, which provided insight into Gyeongbuk Araucana's phenotypic traits. Finally, genetic variation based on the transposable element insertion pattern was investigated to elucidate the features of transposable elements related to blue egg shell formation. This study presents results of the first genomic study on the Gyeongbuk Araucana breed; it has potential to serve as an invaluable resource for future research on the genomic characteristics of this chicken breed as well as others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Size
  • Breeding
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Chickens / physiology
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Egg Shell
  • INDEL Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Whole Genome Sequencing / methods*


  • DNA Transposable Elements