Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) is a valuable bird for both research and production. From a mainly biomedical research point of view, this article describes characteristics of mutations of Japanese quail that have been found in the last 20 years, along with the recent (10 or 15 years) advances in molecular genetics of Japanese quail. In the 50 years following the first report of a mutation in Japanese quail in 1940, approximately 50 mutations were found, and during the subsequent 20 years, approximately 25 mutations have been added to the list of mutations in Japanese quail to date. Based on advances in molecular genetics of Japanese quail, two main genetic linkage maps have been constructed, mostly using microsatellite DNA and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers, and several mutations have been solved at the molecular level for their causative genes. It is anticipated that molecular studies will further reveal the nature of Japanese quail in the near future and enhance its value as a laboratory research animal and agricultural (industrial) animal.
2008 by Japan Poultry Science Association