OMIA 001569-9031 : Feather colour, dark brown in Gallus gallus

Possibly relevant human trait(s) and/or gene(s)s (MIM numbers): 602229 (gene) , 609136 (trait) , 611584 (trait) , 613266 (trait)

Mendelian trait/disorder: yes

Mode of inheritance: Autosomal Recessive

Considered a defect: no

Key variant known: yes

Year key variant first reported: 2011

Species-specific name: Dark brown

Species-specific symbol: DB

Species-specific description: Gunnarsson et al. (2011): "The Dark brown (DB) mutation in chickens reduces expression of black eumelanin and enhances expression of red pheomelanin, but only in certain parts of the plumage."

Molecular basis: Gunnarsson et al. (2011) reported "genetic evidence that an 8.3-kb deletion upstream of the SOX10 transcription start site is the causal mutation underlying the DB [dark brown] phenotype".

Aided by improved sequencing techniques and a better reference genome assembly (GRCg6a, compared with Galgal3), Zhu et al. (2022) showed that light yellow plumage segregating in the F1 of a cross between Rhode Island Red and White Leghorn is due to the same deletion (now characterised as 7638 bp) as reported by Gunnarsson et al. (2011).

Associated gene:

Symbol Description Species Chr Location OMIA gene details page Other Links
SOX10 SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 10 Gallus gallus 1 NC_052532.1 (51095091..51104261) SOX10 Homologene, Ensembl, NCBI gene


By default, variants are sorted chronologically by year of publication, to provide a historical perspective. Readers can re-sort on any column by clicking on the column header. Click it again to sort in a descending order. To create a multiple-field sort, hold down Shift while clicking on the second, third etc relevant column headers.

WARNING! Inclusion of a variant in this table does not automatically mean that it should be used for DNA testing. Anyone contemplating the use of any of these variants for DNA testing should examine critically the relevant evidence (especially in breeds other than the breed in which the variant was first described). If it is decided to proceed, the location and orientation of the variant sequence should be checked very carefully.

Since October 2021, OMIA includes a semiautomated lift-over pipeline to facilitate updates of genomic positions to a recent reference genome position. These changes to genomic positions are not always reflected in the ‘acknowledgements’ or ‘verbal description’ fields in this table.

OMIA Variant ID Breed(s) Variant Phenotype Gene Allele Type of Variant Source of Genetic Variant Reference Sequence Chr. g. or m. c. or n. p. Verbal Description EVA ID Inferred EVA rsID Year Published PubMed ID(s) Acknowledgements
661 Dark brown/yellow plumage SOX10 deletion, gross (>20) Naturally occurring variant GRCg6a 1 g.51035106_51042744delinsGGTGCGGTGA Gunnarsson et al. (2011): "an 8.3-kb deletion upstream of SOX10" Zhu et al. (2022): "the genome region from 51,035,106 bp to 51,042,744 bp is missing in LY [yellow] chickens, with this region showing a novel 10 bp insertion (GGTGCGGTGA)" 2011 21210960


Note: the references are listed in reverse chronological order (from the most recent year to the earliest year), and alphabetically by first author within a year.
2022 Zhu, T., Liu, M., Peng, S., Zhang, X., Chen, Y., Lv, X., Yang, W., Li, K., Zhang, J., Wang, H., Li, H., Ning, Z., Wang, L., Qu, L. :
A Deletion Upstream of SOX10 Causes Light Yellow Plumage Colour in Chicken. Genes (Basel) 13:, 2022. Pubmed reference: 35205371. DOI: 10.3390/genes13020327.
2020 Andersson, L., Bed’hom, B., Chuong, CM., Inaba, M.Inaba, M., Okimoto, R.Okimoto, R., Tixier-Boichard, M. :
The genetic basis for pigmentation phenotypes in poultry In S. E. Aggrey, H. Zhou, M. Tixier-Boichard, & D. D. Rhoads (Eds.), Advances in Poultry Genetics and Genomics. Cambridge, UK: Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. :, 2020.
2019 Nie, C., Ban, L., Ning, Z., Qu, L. :
Feather colour affects the aggressive behaviour of chickens with the same genotype on the dominant white (I) locus. PLoS One 14:e0215921, 2019. Pubmed reference: 31048862. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215921.
2011 Gunnarsson, U., Kerje, S., Bed'hom, B., Sahlqvist, A.S., Ekwall, O., Tixier-Boichard, M., Kämpe, O., Andersson, L. :
The Dark brown plumage color in chickens is caused by an 8.3-kb deletion upstream of SOX10. Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 24:268-74, 2011. Pubmed reference: 21210960. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2011.00825.x.
1993 Carefoot, WC. :
Further studies of linkage and mappings of the loci of genes in group 3 on chromosome 1 of the domestic fowl. Br Poult Sci 34:205-9, 1993. Pubmed reference: 8467400. DOI: 10.1080/00071669308417576.
1972 Moore, JW., Smyth, JR. :
Genetic factors associated with the plumage pattern of the barred Fayoumi. Poult Sci 51:1149-56, 1972. Pubmed reference: 4647577.

Edit History

  • Created by Frank Nicholas on 28 May 2011
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 09 Dec 2011
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 10 Mar 2022