The Churkey, also known as a turken or naked neck chicken, has a unique genetic modification which gives the bird its unusual look. Scientists believe this species could help in understanding the evolutionary progression of such birds as the vulture. Also, with it’s featherless neck, the bird proves potential for underdeveloped countries in hot climates. BBC reports:
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The “churkey” owes its distinctive look to a complex genetic mutation, according to scientists.
Experts at Edinburgh University set out to discover how the Transylvanian naked neck chicken came by its appearance.
The bird, which has also been dubbed the turken, has the neck of a turkey and the body of a chicken.
The scientists said the effects of the genetic mutation were enhanced by a vitamin A-derived substance produced around the bird’s neck.
This causes a protein, BMP12, to be produced, suppressing feather growth and causing the bird to have its bald neck, according to researchers at the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University.