Pleiotropy in the melanocortin system: expression levels of this system are associated with melanogenesis and pigmentation in the tawny owl (Strix aluco).

The adaptive function of melanin-based coloration is a long-standing debate. A recent genetic model suggested that pleiotropy could account for covariations between pigmentation, behaviour, morphology, physiology and life history traits. We explored whether the expression levels of genes belonging to the melanocortin system (MC1R, POMC, PC1/3, PC2 and the… CONTINUE READING