- Not Exactly Rocket Science
How the Transylvanian naked neck chicken got its naked neck
Meet the Transylvanian naked neck chicken – you can understand how it got its name, and why it used to be called a “turken”. This unusual bird isn’t part-turkey; it’s a genuine chicken, albeit one with an unusual lack of feathers on its neck and sparser plumes on its body. Now, Chunyan Mou from the University of Edinburgh has discovered the single genetic tweak behind the chicken’s unusual appearance. In doing so, she revealed a hidden pattern that lurks in the skin of all birds.
The pattern of feathers on a bird’s body is set early on in its life, when it’s still inside the egg. When bird embryos are seven days old, they develop stripes of cells down their