FAQ: Are cross sections the only way to determine colour mutations?

FAQ: Are cross sections of feathers the only way to determine colour mutations?

Absolutely not. Cross sections in combination with a light microscope give us only the basic information on what type of mutation we probably have:

  • Melanin mutations: Leucism? Albinism? Dilution?
  • Change of feathers structure / keratin layer?
  • Other pigmentation?
  • ……

For further research we need other, more specific tools.
Here is a list of recommended scientific instruments / methods needed to:

detect the presence of melanins in feathers:

  • Electron microscope (not always 100% accurate – give us only an optical view)
  • Raman spectroscopy

identify / quantify melanins in feathers:

  • Raman spectroscopy
  • HPLC – High-performance liquid chromatography

identify / detect psittacofulvins / carotenoids in feathers:

  • Raman spectroscopy
  • HPLC – High-performance liquid chromatography

analyse / measure tyrosinase activity:

  • LAMBDA 465
  • UV/Vis Spectrophotometer
  • Raman spectroscopy

analyse / examine feather structure / keratin layers / scattering:

  • Electron microscope
  • X-ray diffraction

Keep in mind that we always need to compare with the normal wild type AND the only way to have a good view on the genotype of the mutation is DNA sequencing.

 

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