- Faculty of Agriculture, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran
- Animal genetics, Genomics, Genomic selection, Small ruminants, Statistical genetics, Structural and functional genomics
- recommender, manager
Genetic background of body reserves in laying hens through backfat thickness phenotyping
Towards a better optimization of the genetic improvement of chicken breeds: Introduction of simple phenotypic traits related to body composition for easy measurement in the selection programs of laying hens.Recommended by Seyed Abbas Rafat based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
In genetic selection, simplistic model of single-trait selection is usually considered, and the response to such approach is estimated using simple models. In practice, however, plant and animal breeders always deal with the selection of several traits, hence making the selection process very complex. Therefore, the simultaneous genetic improvement of several traits has always been one of the goals of livestock, including poultry breeding (Falconer, 1972). Studies that examine the indirect effects of selection on economic traits are eagerly awaited. In this context, the results of the study by Bédère et al., (2023) gives new insights about phenotypic and genotypic relationships between body reserves traits in laying hens. The authors aimed to propose novel data about the genetic architecture of traits related to body fat by measuring a series of phenotypic traits with relatively an easy approach. The authors further aimed to test and validate the phenotyping of backfat thickness as an indicator of the overall fatness of laying hens. Thus, the study allowed providing new evidence regarding the genetic determination of the backfat trait in chicken breeds.
The authors first estimated the effect of selection on the residual feed intake (trait x) on the trait of body reserves (trait y). In fact, divergent selection experiments are a fundamental research tool that allow revealing significant amount of data related to the possible span of genetic improvement for traits of interest. Consequently, by analyzing data from a divergent selection experiment, associations have been estimated between a number of feed-dependent traits that have practical use for chicken breeders. Estimation of the correlations between traits is under question in terms of the theory of genetics and their application in multi-trait selection. As a major finding of the study, the observation of a bimodal distribution of backfat in both lines and the heterogeneity of the variances between families allowed suggesting a possible major gene, which could be investigated in future studies using for instance quantitative genetics. Body composition is continually studied in broilers chicken, but this aspect of chicken genetic is more detailed in laying hens.
The current findings are worthy to validate using several approaches. In fact, one of the limitations of the study can be related to other statistical models that can be built. For example, the study revealed high correlations between egg production and body weight, thus body weight could be considered as a covariate in regression models. Moreover, the principal trait of selection (based on the residual feed intake) could be considered.
Falconer, D. S. (1972). Introduction to Quantitative Genetics. Publisher: Ronald Press Company. pp 365.
Bédère, N., Dupont, J., Baumard, Y., Staub, C., Gourichon, D., Elleboudt, F., Le Roy, P., Zerjal, T. (2023). Genetic background of body reserves in laying hens through backfat thickness phenotyping. HAL ver. 3 peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Animal Science. https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-04172576