Segregation of QTL for production traits in commercial meat-type chickens

D J De Koning, C S Haley, D Windsor, P M Hocking, H Griffin, A Morris, J Vincent, D W Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This study investigated whether quantitative trait loci (QTL) identified in experimental crosses of chickens provide a short cut to the identification of QTL in commercial populations. A commercial population of broilers was targeted for chromosomal regions in which QTL for traits associated with meat production have previously been detected in extreme crosses. A three-generation design, consisting of 15 grandsires, 608 half-sib hens and over 15 000 third-generation offspring, was implemented within the existing breeding scheme of a broiler breeding company. The first two generations were typed for 52 microsatellite markers spanning regions of nine chicken chromosomes and covering a total of 730 cM, approximately one-fifth of the chicken genome. Using half-sib analyses with a multiple QTL model, linkage was studied between these regions and 17 growth and carcass traits. Out of 153 trait x region comparisons, 53 QTL exceeded the threshold for genome-wide significance while an additional 23 QTL were significant at the nominal 1% level. Many of the QTL affect the carcass proportions and feed intake, for which there are few published studies. Given intensive selection for efficient growth in broilers for more than 50 generations it is surprising that many QTL affecting these traits are still segregating. Future fine-mapping efforts could elucidate whether ancestral mutations are still segregating as a result of pleiotropic effects on fitness traits or whether this variation is due to new mutations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-20
Number of pages10
JournalGenetics Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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