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The twofold difference in adult size between the red junglefowl and White Leghorn chickens is largely explained by a limited number of QTLs


  • Present address: Per Jensen, Section for Biology, Linköping University, SE-581 83 Linköping, Sweden.

Leif Andersson, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Uppsala University, BMC, Box 597, S-751 24 Uppsala, Sweden.


A large intercross between the domestic White Leghorn chicken and the wild ancestor, the red junglefowl, has been used in a Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) study of growth and egg production. The linkage map based on 105 marker loci was in good agreement with the chicken consensus map. The growth of the 851 F2 individuals was lower than both parental lines prior to 46 days of age and intermediate to the two parental lines thereafter. The QTL analysis of growth traits revealed 13 loci that showed genome-wide significance. The four major growth QTLs explained 50 and 80% of the difference in adult body weight between the founder populations for females and males, respectively. A major QTL for growth, located on chromosome 1 appears to have pleiotropic effects on feed consumption, egg production and behaviour. There was a strong positive correlation between adult body weight and average egg weight. However, three QTLs affecting average egg weight but not body weight were identified. An interesting observation was that the estimated effects for the four major growth QTLs all indicated a codominant inheritance.