Japanese quails (Coturnix japonica)
Japanese quails have traditionally been used by developmental biologists to study the embryonic origin of several cell types (i.e., fate mapping through quail-chick grafting). Molecular tools are available thanks to its its close relationship with the chicken (Gallus gallus), and today, this species is raising again as a major model organism, with the ongoing sequencing of its genome.
Galliforms (gamebirds and fowls) are an order of ground dwelling birds comprising megapodes, chachalacas, guans, curassows, turkeys, grouses, new world quails, pheasants, partridges and guineafowls, representing more than 290 species. Their stocky bodies exhibit colorful, often sexually dimorphic plumage. In most species, juveniles display typical striped color patterns with alternating black-brown and yellow longitudinal stripes along the dorsal feather tract.
Phylogeny of Galliformes
Behavior and Ecology of Galliformes
Living species of Ratites are the African Ostrich, the Australian Emu, three species of Kassowaries, two species of Rheas and five species of Kiwis. These flightless birds display a near-complete absence of featherless areas in the skin, and most often, a dark grey-to-brown homogeneous plumage. Juveniles show sharp grey and white longitudinal stripes of varrying sizes and location along the antero-posterior axis.
Ratites breed well in captivity and fertilized eggs can be obtained from local suplliers. While the embryonic development is long, the large size of eggs and embryonic specimens facilitates phenotypic description and manipulation.