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Comparative and Functional Genomics
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 682095, 12 pages
Research Article

Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of the Chicken Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Factors

1Department of Animal Science, China Agricultural University, Yuanmingyuan West Road No.2, Beijing 100093, China
2Department of Biology Science, Fuyang Normal College, Qinghe East Road No.741, Fuyang 236041, China

Received 21 October 2009; Accepted 24 February 2010

Academic Editor: Cahir O'Kane

Copyright © 2010 Wu-yi Liu and Chun-jiang Zhao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Members of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family of transcription factors play important roles in a wide range of developmental processes. In this study, we conducted a genome-wide survey using the chicken (Gallus gallus) genomic database, and identified 104 bHLH sequences belonging to 42 gene families in an effort to characterize the chicken bHLH transcription factor family. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that chicken has 50, 21, 15, 4, 8, and 3 bHLH members in groups A, B, C, D, E, and F, respectively, while three members belonging to none of these groups were classified as ‘‘orphans’’. A comparison between chicken and human bHLH repertoires suggested that both organisms have a number of lineage-specific bHLH members in the proteomes. Chromosome distribution patterns and phylogenetic analyses strongly suggest that the bHLH members should have arisen through gene duplication at an early date. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment statistics showed 51 top GO annotations of biological processes counted in the frequency. The present study deepens our understanding of the chicken bHLH transcription factor family and provides much useful information for further studies using chicken as a model system.