Talk Cockatiels Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all :),

Before I start, I don't want anyone to get all offended/angry because some people are against Germline Therapy or other cellular modification :blush:. This is just an idea that came to the forefront of my mind (at 1am in Australia... :wacko:).

I was just wondering something. A couple of weeks ago I was reading through my science book and read over a bit of information on Germ Line therapy. And I started to wonder whether this would be possible in Cockatiels, to produce new phenotypes (appearances/colours of the plumage/eyes of cockatiels).

Germ line therapy involves the modifications of the zygote (the first cell of an organism, from which it developes further by division). For more information on the process and all that stuff behind it see here: http://www.angelfire.com/hi3/germline/

But it got me thinking, is it possible to get the zygote of a cockatiel and genetically modify it by splicing in a new gene? I think in theory this could work. Say you have a certain bacteria which produces a red pigment, and you wanted to make a red cockatiel. If you can locate the gene in the bacteria's DNA and locate the area in the Cockatiel's genes responsible for pigment production, you can cut out the gene responsible for the red pigment production (using restriction enzymes) and this creates a gene, with 'sticky ends', it will stick into a new DNA chain. You then cut the DNA of the Cockatiel and stick the gene containing instructions for the production of the red pigment in. Thus, the Cockatiel zygote would contain the red pigment instruction, and develope into a Cockatiel producing red feathers.

You would also have to take into account the Melanin and Lipochrome, you may have to remove them to create a successful red colour. Or maybe you could leave them in and see what combinations it could create.

But basically the point I'm trying to get a cross is, theoratically you could create Cockatiels (and not just Cockatiels, any birds) with a limitless number of colours, it wouldn't just be bound to creating variations in Lipochrome or Melanin, you could create an ACTUAL emerald/green cockatiel. And then after you created the desired phenotype in the bird, you could breed it and see the results.

Please correct me anyone if my theory is wrong haha, and I'm pretty sure there is some other scientist person who has thought of this before me, but I haven't seen it anyway :p. I hope this isn't controversial or anything to people... :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm not sure. I beleive alot of the color is due to the actual refraction of light...thus first a modification would have to iniitiate a change in the feather structure (???) Just some quick thoughts...
Refraction is the wrong word, I think you mean reflection (refraction=bending of light doesn't change colour, reflection=reflection/what we see). The reflection of the light does control the visible colour, but the pigments in the feathers are what controls this, I'm pretty sure. The feather structure doesn't really have anything to do with it I think. The pigments absorb particular spectrums of light, and the light that is not absorbed is reflected back. The reflected light is what reaches our eyes, and the colour of light reflected is how the colour appears (e.g. lipochrome reflects yellow, orange and red light. I'm pretty sure Melanin absorbs all light, high melanin makes a darker colour, and eventually black).

Also...another thought. With ALL mutations the only thing that breeders have not been able to to remove or eliminate is the white wing bar that is on all cockatiels. Any thoughts on why?
That would be because somehow the gene controlling this wing bar is unnaffected by the genetic combinations breeders can come up with at the moment. Maybe sometime in the future a mutation in this gene will cause the white wing bar gene to become damaged/non functional. If no Cockatiels have been bred without the wing bar, then at the moment the only thing we can hope for with normal breeding is the chance this will occur (which is long odds :lol:). With genetic engineering/germ line therapy you could eliminate the gene, or replace it with one to produce lots of melanin, making the wing bar dark or with another gene to produce other pigments.

You are out of your box.
Regards Cliff
Haha :lol:, well I thought so too when I first read over what I wrote, maybe you don't fully get all of what I'm putting forward. If that's the case maybe do some more research into Germ Line therapy, read the link I added :p. Theoratically it should work. Maybe I am out of my box, but until there is conclusive evidence against me I wouldn't label myself as crazy just yet :lol:. A lot of people coming up with new ideas get called crazy :).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,158 Posts
Your posting also brought to mind what some breeders were trying to do in the mid 90's...which was to produce a totally black cockatiel. It was accomplished, whereas the yellow and orange did show up, and the size of the wing bar was reduce. The drawback is that fatalities were high in the nest, and the ones that made it had a very short lifespan. I don't remeber but I beleive it was 6-12 months of age.

It had made me wonder at the time if the reduction/elimination of the yellow/orange pigments also aftered health. And if so how and why?

With tiels it seems that the mutations that do live to be in their late 20's to early 30's tend to be normals. The various mutations started appearing from 1949 to the mid 1990's. With the earlier mutations there is little info as to the easloer mutations having such longectivity (sp?)

Any thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,158 Posts
Sorry for all the typo's...the letters are worn off of my keyboard, and I use the hunt and peck style of typing.

As to the wing bar thoughts. Since WF also contains white I have noticed that there is a very slight difference in the shade of white on the body versus the wing bar. With WF the intensity of white can be breed. For ex: mutations that carry a high visual content of yellow will produce (when splits, then the spits to visuals are bred) a brighter white. Those that have a drab, dull yellow in the background tend to produce a duller looking white in WF. Somehow the wing bar color does not get alterred.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
159 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Your posting also brought to mind what some breeders were trying to do in the mid 90's...which was to produce a totally black cockatiel. It was accomplished, whereas the yellow and orange did show up, and the size of the wing bar was reduce. The drawback is that fatalities were high in the nest, and the ones that made it had a very short lifespan. I don't remeber but I beleive it was 6-12 months of age.

It had made me wonder at the time if the reduction/elimination of the yellow/orange pigments also aftered health. And if so how and why?

With tiels it seems that the mutations that do live to be in their late 20's to early 30's tend to be normals. The various mutations started appearing from 1949 to the mid 1990's. With the earlier mutations there is little info as to the easloer mutations having such longectivity (sp?)

Any thoughts?
An all black cockatiel? That's really cool sounding haha. With my knowledge I would attribute the early deaths to the genetics of the Cockatiels. To make those black cockatiels, they must have eliminated the production of lipochrome in the black areas and enhanced the production of melanin. To do this the genetics would have to be altered (by choosing particular birds and selectively breeding them to produce the black plumage), I think that the early deaths occured because not only were the genes for the pigment production altered, but other genes were altered too. So what I'm saying is not only was the genes for production of lipochrome deleted/turned off or reduced in function, other genes were afffected by the particular combination of the genes. These other affected genes would probably be ones related to the physiology (chemical reactions inside) of the Cockatiel, thus shortening it's lifespan.

If we used Germ Line therapy, then it would be controlled and we could select the exact gene we wanted to remove (to produce the black Cockatiel this would be removing the Lipochrome, and possibly adding a gene for black pigment production or increasing the function of the melanin producing gene) without damaging any of the other genes required for the Cockatiel to have a long healthy life span.

As to the wing bar thoughts. Since WF also contains white I have noticed that there is a very slight difference in the shade of white on the body versus the wing bar. With WF the intensity of white can be breed. For ex: mutations that carry a high visual content of yellow will produce (when splits, then the spits to visuals are bred) a brighter white. Those that have a drab, dull yellow in the background tend to produce a duller looking white in WF. Somehow the wing bar color does not get alterred.
Ah, yeah then I think that would probably confirm that the wing bar gene doesn't have anything to do with the other genes controlling the rest of the Cockatiel. Somehow the necessary mutation to remove the wing bar hasn't been created. At the most basic level, the genes controlling the wing bar are made of 4 bases A (Adenine), T (Thymine), C (Cytosine) and G (Guanine). The combinations of these 4 bases alone a 'ladder' of DNA creates instructions for the production of substances, such as pigments (melanin and lipochrome). So as of yet, no Cockatiel has the right combination of these bases to create a different coloured wing bar, or to make a damaged gene which doesn't produce it. Then there is also the fact that IF one may have this gene it could be recessive, and that it wont show until it is paired up with another Cockatiel with the same condition to produce a possible visual example.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top