Fowl Colors: Peacock Color Mutations
Zoos manage populations of animals to maintain genetic diversity and preserve the species. However, sometimes color mutations show up in the offspring. Though these color mutations would probably not be successful in the wild, in zoos where predators are absent, they flourish and can get passed on to subsequent generations. In this activity, you will complete some sample genetic crosses for a few of the countless genetic
combinations that result in color mutations. You will also determine the mode of transmission for these genetic mutations.
A note about this species…
Indian blue peafowl (Pavo cristatus) are commonly bred and exhibited by zoos and other institutions around the world because of their beautiful, exaggerated, and colorful display. Males, known as peacocks, possess a set of vibrant tail feathers called a “train.” Females, known as peahens, find these features attractive and research has shown that males with the longer, more elaborate trains attract more females and these females produce more chicks for these males. Via selective breeding, many color variations have been perpetuated over the years producing some striking displays.
ACTIVITY 13 - “Fowl” Colors: Peafowl Color Mutations (pdf file)