Quantifying the effects of genetic selection and genetic variation for body size, carcass composition, and meat quality in the domestic fowl (Gallus domesticus)

D. A. Sandercock, G. R. Nute, P. M. Hocking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A multistrain experiment was conducted to quantify the extent of genetic differences in carcass and muscle yields, muscle quality, support organs, and taste panel assessments of cooked breast muscle of 296 birds from 37 lines of commercial broiler, layer, and traditional chickens. The birds were reared as broilers and 4 males from each line were slaughtered at 6 and 10 wk of age. The extent of genetic variation was measured as the intraclass correlation. The intraclass correlation for live weight; carcass yields; breast, drum, and wing portions; and associated muscle yields were high, whereas those for the thigh portion and yield were low. Broilers had more breast and thigh muscle but similar drum muscle as a proportion of carcass weight compared with layer and traditional lines. Genetic variation for muscle quality (plasma creatine kinase activity) was high; that for muscle color (L*, a*, and b*) and hemorrhage score were moderate in size and were greater at 10 than at 6 wk of age. Broiler lines had greater creatine kinase activity indicative of greater muscle pathology; breast muscle was lighter, less red and yellow in color, and had a greater hemorrhage score than muscle from layer and traditional lines, which were similar. Intraclass correlations for taste panel scores were low and generally not significant except for texture, chicken flavor intensity, flavor liking, and overall liking at 6 wk of age. Significantly greater scores from broiler compared with layer and traditional lines for texture, chicken flavor intensity, and overall liking were observed. At 10 wk of age, chicken flavor intensity did not differ between broiler or layer birds but was significantly greater in both groups than traditional birds. Genetic variation for relative weight of abdominal fat, spleen, and heart was moderately high and greater at 10 than at 6 wk of age. Broiler carcasses had a relatively high proportion of abdominal fat and smaller spleen and heart weights.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-931
Number of pages9
JournalPoultry Science
Volume88
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009

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