Distribution of Allelic Forms of Erythrocyte H1 Histones in Japanese Quail Populations Divergently Selected for Amount of Weight Loss After Transient Starvation

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Three polymorphic subtypes of erythrocyte histone H1 (H1.a, H1.b, and H1.z) were analyzed using a sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel in quail populations divergently selected for a high (line 1) or low (line 2) reduction in body mass following temporary food withdrawal. Both H1.b and H1.z histone alleles were found to be differently distributed in these populations during the selection period. The frequency of b1 in line 2 was approximately 1.9–2.8 times lower than in line 1 and approached the values in line 1 when the selection was suspended. Similarly, the frequency of allele z2 at locus H1.z increased significantly (about 1.6–2.3 times) in line 2 during selection and returned to the initial values when selection was stopped. On the other hand, allele a0 at locus H1.a was kept at relatively low levels (usually below 0.05) in both lines during selection. At that time its level was approximately three to four times lower than in a random mating control population. When selection was suspended, the frequency of a0 in line 1 increased significantly, approaching the values in the control line, and remained essentially unchanged in line 2. Thus, all three polymorphic histone H1 loci in quail responded through changes in allele frequencies to the breeding selection, which was directed at the amount of body weight loss upon transient starvation. It seems that either H1 histone locus could be linked to loci controlling the rate of body weight reduction following starvation or weight loss during fasting might be influenced by a panel of H1 histone alleles that can contribute to functional differences in avian chromatin.

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