Convergent Evolution of Parrot Plumage Coloration

By Eric Lee
Apr 10th 2024

Professor Simon Sin and other scientists would like to share their study on convergent evolution of parrot plumage coloration. The blue phenotype had repeatedly appeared in different parrot species, including Fischer’s lovebird (Agapornis fischeri) and Yellow-collared lovebird (Agapornis personatus). Using whole-genome data, they identified a single genomic region with size <2 Mb to be strongly associated with the color difference between blue and non-blue birds in both species. Surprisingly, the mutation associated with the blue lovebird phenotype was identical to the previously described substitution causing the functional change of MuPKS in budgerigars. They also demonstrated both de novo mutation and interspecific introgression play a role in the evolution of this trait in different lovebird species. The convergent substitution in the same gene in both lovebirds and budgerigars indicates a strong evolutionary constraint on psittacofulvin-based coloration.

The paper can be downloaded here