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Introgression of regulatory alleles and a missense coding mutation drive plumage pattern diversity in the rock pigeon.

Birds and other vertebrates display stunning variation in pigmentation patterning, yet the genes controlling this diversity remain largely unknown. Rock pigeons () are fundamentally one of four color pattern phenotypes, in decreasing order of melanism: T-check, checker, bar (ancestral), or barless. Using whole-genome scans, we identified as a candidate gene for this variation. Allele-specific expression differences in indicate -regulatory divergence between ancestral and melanistic alleles. Sequence comparisons suggest that derived alleles originated in the speckled pigeon (), providing a striking example of introgression. In contrast, barless rock pigeons have an increased incidence of vision defects and, like human families with hereditary blindness, carry start-codon mutations in . In summary, we find that both coding and regulatory variation in the same gene drives wing pattern diversity, and post-domestication introgression supplied potentially advantageous melanistic alleles to feral populations of this ubiquitous urban bird.

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Suppression of Cisplatin-Induced Vomiting by in Pigeons: Neurochemical Evidences.

(, family ) has been reported for its anti-emetic activity against cancer chemotherapy-induced emesis in animal models and in clinics. The current study was designed to investigate for potential effectiveness to attenuate cisplatin-induced vomiting in healthy pigeons and to study the impact on neurotransmitters involved centrally and peripherally in the act of vomiting. High-performance liquid chromatography system coupled with electrochemical detector was used for the quantification of neurotransmitters 5-hydroxytryptamine (5HT), dopamine (DA) and their metabolites; Di-hydroxy Phenyl Acetic acid (Dopac), Homovanillic acid (HVA), and 5-hydroxy indole acetic acid (5HIAA) centrally in specific brain areas (area postrema and brain stem) while, peripherally in small intestine. Cisplatin (7 mg/kg i.v.) induce emesis without lethality across the 24 h observation period. hexane fraction (HexFr; 10 mg/kg) attenuated cisplatin-induced emesis ∼ 65.85% ( < 0.05); the reference anti-emetic drug, metoclopramide (MCP; 30 mg/kg), produced ∼43.90% reduction ( < 0.05). At acute time point (3 h), CS-HexFr decreased ( < 0.001) the concentration of 5HT and 5HIAA in the area postrema, brain stem and intestine, while at 18 h (delayed time point) CS-HexFr attenuated ( < 0.001) the upsurge of 5HT caused by cisplatin in the brain stem and intestine and dopamine in the area postrema. -HexFr treatment alone did not alter the basal neurotransmitters and their metabolites in the brain areas and intestine except 5HIAA and HVA, which were decreased significantly. In conclusion the anti-emetic effect of -HexFr is mediated by anti-serotonergic and anti-dopaminergic components in a blended manner at the two different time points, i.e., 3 and 18 h in pigeons.

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Technology to watch in 2018.


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Cutaneous Leiomyosarcoma with Multiple Visceral Metastases in a Domestic Pigeon.

A clinical examination of a 4-yr-old fantail pigeon revealed a large skin tumor in the area of the left wing. The tumor had solid consistency and a single cavity filled with fluid. During necropsy, multiple tumors of varied size and diameter were found in the liver, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys. A histopathological examination of the skin tumor revealed extensive multifocal neoplasia with a tendency to infiltrate, composed of polygonal, round, oval, and elongated cells forming a solid system with cellular bands and obliteration of intercellular boundaries. Multifocal necrosis was detected in the foci of neoplastic infiltration. Similar foci were present in the liver, pancreas, and lungs. In an immunohistochemical examination, tumor cells tested positive for smooth-muscle actin and vimentin. The diagnosis was cutaneous leiomyosarcoma with an uncommon feature of visceral metastases.

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Acute Lameness in a Roller Pigeon ( Columba livia ) with Multicentric Lymphosarcoma.

A 3-yr-old adult female roller pigeon ( Columba livia ) used as part of a breeding pair for an ongoing research study presented with acute left limb lameness. Palpation of the left leg and region revealed a large lump near the coxofemoral joint. The bird was able to ambulate in the cage, but would not brood her hatchling. The bird was humanely euthanized and necropsy was performed. Grossly, multiple large white to pale tan nodules were noted in the pancreas, lung, rib cage, intestines, and unilaterally in the left kidney. Microscopic examination of the various organs revealed neoplastic proliferation of round cells consistent with lymphoblasts. Immunohistochemistry was performed with the use of antibodies to CD3, CD79a, CD20, and CD21 to phenotype the cells. The results indicated that the neoplastic infiltrating cells were predominantly of T-cell origin.

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Can old computers bring Palestinians and Israelis together?


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Pathology in Practice.


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Transferring intercellular signals and traits between cancer cells: extracellular vesicles as "homing pigeons".

Extracellular vesicles are cell-derived vesicles, which can transport various cargos out of cells. From their cell of origin, the content molecules (proteins, non-coding RNAs including miRNAs, DNA and others) can be delivered to neighboring or distant cells and as such extracellular vesicles can be regarded as vehicles of intercellular communication or "homing pigeons". Extracellular vesicle shuttling is able to actively modulate the tumor microenvironment and can partake in tumor dissemination. In various diseases, including cancer, levels of extracellular vesicle secretion are altered resulting in different amounts and/or profiles of detectable vesicular cargo molecules and these distinct content profiles are currently being evaluated as biomarkers. Apart from their potential as blood-derived containers of specific biomarkers, the transfer of extracellular vesicles to surrounding cells also appears to be involved in the propagation of phenotypic traits. These interesting properties have put extracellular vesicles into the focus of many recent studies.Here we review findings on the involvement of extracellular vesicles in transferring traits of cancer cells to their surroundings and briefly discuss new data on oncosomes, a larger type of vesicle. A pressing issue in cancer treatment is rapidly evolving resistance to many initially efficient drug therapies. Studies investigating the role of extracellular vesicles in this phenomenon together with a summary of the technical challenges that this field is still facing, are also presented. Finally, emerging areas of research such as the analysis of the lipid composition on extracellular vesicles and cutting-edge techniques to visualise the trafficking of extracellular vesicles are discussed.

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Pigeons (Columba livia) as Trainable Observers of Pathology and Radiology Breast Cancer Images.

Pathologists and radiologists spend years acquiring and refining their medically essential visual skills, so it is of considerable interest to understand how this process actually unfolds and what image features and properties are critical for accurate diagnostic performance. Key insights into human behavioral tasks can often be obtained by using appropriate animal models. We report here that pigeons (Columba livia)-which share many visual system properties with humans-can serve as promising surrogate observers of medical images, a capability not previously documented. The birds proved to have a remarkable ability to distinguish benign from malignant human breast histopathology after training with differential food reinforcement; even more importantly, the pigeons were able to generalize what they had learned when confronted with novel image sets. The birds' histological accuracy, like that of humans, was modestly affected by the presence or absence of color as well as by degrees of image compression, but these impacts could be ameliorated with further training. Turning to radiology, the birds proved to be similarly capable of detecting cancer-relevant microcalcifications on mammogram images. However, when given a different (and for humans quite difficult) task-namely, classification of suspicious mammographic densities (masses)-the pigeons proved to be capable only of image memorization and were unable to successfully generalize when shown novel examples. The birds' successes and difficulties suggest that pigeons are well-suited to help us better understand human medical image perception, and may also prove useful in performance assessment and development of medical imaging hardware, image processing, and image analysis tools.

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