Mapping QTL for growth and shank traits in chickens divergently selected for high or low body weight

Authors


S. E. Aggrey, Department of Poultry Science, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602-2772, USA.E-mail: saggrey@uga.edu

Summary

An F2 population (695 individuals) was established from broiler chickens divergently selected for either high (HG) or low (LG) growth, and used to localize QTL for developmental changes in body weight (BW), shank length (SL9) and shank diameter (SD9) at 9 weeks. QTL mapping revealed three genome-wide QTL on chromosomes (GGA) 2, 4 and 26 and three suggestive QTL on GGA 1, 3 and 5. Most of the BW QTL individually explained 2–5% of the phenotypic variance. The BW QTL on GGA2 explained about 7% of BW from 3 to 7 weeks of age, while that on GGA4 explained 15% of BW from 5 to 9 weeks. The BW QTL on GGA2 and GGA4 could be associated with early and late growth respectively. The GGA4 QTL also had the largest effect on SL9 and SD9 and explained 7% and 10% of their phenotypic variances respectively. However, when SL9 and SD9 were corrected with BW9, a shank length percent QTL was identified on GGA2. We identified novel QTL and also confirmed previously identified loci in other chicken populations. As the foundation population was established from commercial broiler strains, it is possible that QTL identified in this study could still be segregating in commercial strains.

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