Fourteen tail feathers: An autosomal recessive trait in california condors (Gymnogyps californianus)

Zoo Biol. 2017 Jan;36(1):1-4. doi: 10.1002/zoo.21335. Epub 2016 Nov 15.


Eight pairs of California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) have produced 12 chicks with 14 tail feathers instead of the normal 12. The 14 tail feather trait appears to follow an autosomal recessive pattern of inheritance and is not known to be deleterious. The putative allele for the trait was present in at least seven of the 13 founders of the population. The 14 tail feather allele is the second recessive allele discovered in the condor population. Due to the founder effect, which changes the frequency of many formerly rare recessive alleles, and genetic management to minimize mean kinship, which reduces the expression of recessive traits, it is likely that this population carries other recessive alleles that have not yet been detected. Zoo Biol. 36:1-4, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: California Condors; Gymnogyps californianus; founder effect; recessive alleles; tail feather.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Falconiformes / anatomy & histology*
  • Falconiformes / genetics*
  • Feathers / anatomy & histology*
  • Tail / anatomy & histology*