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Keywords:

  • eggshell quality;
  • single nucleotide polymorphisms

Summary

Novel and traditional eggshell quality measurements were made from up to 2000 commercial pedigree hens for a candidate gene association analysis with organic eggshell matrix genes: ovocleidin-116, osteopontin (SPP1), ovocalyxin-32 (RARRES1), ovotransferrin (LTF), ovalbumin and ovocalyxin-36, as well as key genes in the maintenance and function of the shell gland [estrogen receptor (ESR1) and carbonic anhydrase II (CAII)]. Associations were found for (i) ovalbumin with breaking strength and shell thickness; (ii) ovocleidin-116 with elastic modulus, shell thickness and egg shape; (iii) RARRES1 with mammillary layer thickness; (iv) ESR1 with dynamic stiffness; (v) SPP1 with fracture toughness and (vi) CAII with egg shape. The marker effects are as large as 17% of trait standard deviations and could be used to improve eggshell quality.