Genome wide association analysis of cuticle deposition in laying hens

Zhang Wang, Ian Dunn, Pete Wilson, Sandra Poyatos Pertinez, Janet E Fulton, Jesus Arango, Björn Andersson, Matthias Schmutz, Anna Wolc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The cuticle is an invisible barrier that protects the internal egg contents from microorganisms entering through gas exchange pores. Eggs which have a good cuticle are least likely to be penetrated by microorganisms and improved cuticle cover should reduce vertical transmission of microorganisms and improve biosecurity. The aim was to carry out a genome wide association study for cuticle deposition in 3 independent populations of laying hens using tartrazine and lissamine green staining. Eggs from ∼8,000 hens represented 2 White Leghorn and 1 Rhode Island Red breed. Estimates of heritability using pedigree or genomic relationship matrices were in the 0.2 to 0.3 range. The results were breed specific. Across the populations, genomic regions on chromosomes 1, 2, 4, 5, and 8 were identified as significantly associated with cuticle deposition. No single loci had a large effect. A comparison was made with genes differentially expressed in the shell gland when cuticle deposition was manipulated, however none were obvious candidates for cuticle deposition. The results support the polygenic nature of the trait and the information will help in the future to understand the genetic variance and what might control cuticle deposition and the microbiological safety of the egg.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102990
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number10
Early online date8 Aug 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Egg quality
  • genetics
  • zoonoses
  • candidate genes
  • vertical transmission


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