Quantifying genetic (co)variation and effects of genetic selection on tibial bone morphology and quality in 37 lines of broiler, layer and traditional chickens

P. M. Hocking, D. A. Sandercock, S. Wilson, R. H. Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1. Tibial bone morphology and quality was assessed at 6, 8 and 10 weeks of age in 12 broiler, 12 layer and 13 traditional lines of chickens. 2. High intraclass correlations (0 center dot 65-0 center dot 96) were estimated for tibial weight, length, width, strength, stiffness, stress radiodensity, plateau angle but not for cortical width and tibial torsion at 6 and 10 weeks of age and for weight, length, width, strength radiodensity and plateau angle at 8 weeks of age. Lower intraclass correlations (0 center dot 4-0 center dot 8) were estimated within category (broiler, layer and traditional) for weight, length, width at 6, 8 and 10 weeks, and for stiffness, stress and radiodensity at 6 and 10 weeks, and were lower (0 center dot 33) at 8 weeks of age. Intraclass correlations for tibial torsion angles were low (0 center dot 4) at all ages. 3. Tibia from layers and traditional lines were similar suggesting that intensive genetic selection for high rates of egg laying has not changed bone size, shape or quality. Tibia from broilers, as expected, were heavier and larger and the differences were greatest at 6 weeks of age suggesting that the broilers were earlier maturing than layers and traditional lines. Broiler tibiae were more radiodense, stronger and stiffer and had lower stress values than bones from layers and traditional lines. Plateau angles were higher in broilers and torsion angles had higher external rotation compared with layers and traditional lines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-450
Number of pages8
JournalBritish Poultry Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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