Red canary + yellow canary = alien?
For such lovely animals, songbirds create some very bizarre looking offspring (sometimes lovingly called "gutsacks"). Is this a young canary, or a xenomorph larva fresh from the Alien franchise?
This is from the research colony I maintained at Auburn University. Here, I crossed a "red factor" red canary with a yellow canary, which produces red or deep orange offspring. These are the sorts of crosses that led to the Hill Lab and collaborators isolating the "redness gene" in songbirds:
Lopes et al. 2016, Genetic basis for red coloration in birds. Current Biology 26:1–8.
It turns out that there are TWO genes required for birds to have red feathers, and babies that inherit just one will be orange, regardless of the activity of their red-pigment-producing enzymes!