Genetic parameters for blood oxygen saturation, body weight and breast conformation in 4 meat-type chicken lines.

Roslin Institute, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9PS, Scotland, UK.
British Poultry Science (Impact Factor: 1.15). 01/2007; 47(6):659-70. DOI: 10.1080/00071660601042372
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 1. The objective of the study was to explore the genetic architecture of blood oxygen saturation (SaO) (an indicator trait, negatively correlated with ascites susceptibility), body weight (Weight) and fleshing score (Flesh, a measure of breast conformation) for 4 meat-type chicken lines reared in commercial conditions. 2. Genetic components, including heritabilities and genetic correlations, were estimated by Restricted Maximum likelihood for these traits measured at 6 weeks of age. 3. Data were collected over eight generations of selection and pedigrees comprised in excess of 130,000 birds. 4. Univariate analyses were performed to allow model definition and to obtain starting values for trivariate analyses. The basic model included a random animal effect and, in further models explored, a maternal environmental effect or a genetic maternal effect or both were fitted. Models were compared using likelihood ratio tests. 5. Estimated heritabilities for SaO ranged from 0.1 to 0.2, and there was no evidence of genetic maternal effects for SaO. The environmental maternal component was significant for one of the populations only. Estimated heritabilities for both Weight and Flesh were between 0.2 and 0.4, and there was evidence of environmental and genetic maternal effects for these traits in all populations. 6. Genetic correlations between SaO and Weight and between SaO and Flesh were low and negative. This suggests that, in principle, genetic selection to simultaneously increase SaO, and therefore decrease ascites susceptibility, and WEight and Flesh could be performed using traditional (marker-free) selection methods. We discuss how a putative interaction between ascites and production traits could jeopardise the success of such methods.

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    ABSTRACT: In order to investigate the relationship between carbon dioxide tensions in the venous blood of young chickens and ascites susceptibility, one hundred day-old chickens from two pure broiler breeder lines differing in susceptibility to ascites syndrome were obtained and reared at low environmental temperature. Weekly, blood samples were taken for the determination of blood gas parameters and plasma thyroid hormone levels. Dead birds were examined for lesions of ascites daily and all survived birds were autopsied at the end of the trials. In cold conditioning, the cumulative incidence of right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH) and ascites was 78% (39/50) in fast-growing (line A) and 50% (25/50) in slow-growing (line B) chickens, confirming that line A chickens had higher susceptibility to ascites than line B chickens. At 12 days of age, the mean pCO(2) tension was significantly (P < 0.01) higher in the venous blood of line A than line B chickens. During the experiment, the majority of line A and line B chickens showing RVH and ascites exhibited pCO(2) tensions equal to, or exceeding 50 mmHg at 12 days of age. Additionally, fast-growing chickens showed significantly lower plasma T3 and T4 concentrations than slow-growing chickens. In conclusion, our data indicate that carbon dioxide pressure in the venous blood of early postnatal broiler chickens could be used as a valuable predictor in the selection of birds susceptible to pulmonary hypertension and ascites. The function of thyroid hormones should also be taken into consideration in further selection procedures for meat-type chickens.
    Acta Veterinaria Hungarica 06/2010; 58(2):221-30. · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ascites, also called pulmonary hypertension syndrome, is a metabolic disorder in chickens that have an insufficient pulmonary vascular capacity. The tendency of broilers to develop ascites is heritable, and successful selection against this susceptibility would benefit from good and easy-to-measure indicator traits. Blood gas parameters have been suggested as indicator traits for ascites susceptibility. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to estimate the heritability of blood gas parameters and the genetic and phenotypic correlations between blood gas parameters, heart ratio (postmortem indicator for ascites), and BW at 2 different ages. For this purpose, blood gas parameters, including the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in venous blood (pvCO(2)), the partial pressure of oxygen in venous blood (pvO(2)), and blood oxygen saturation, were measured at an average age of 22 d in nearly 3,000 broilers. To challenge the resistance of the birds to ascites, they were kept under cold conditions. Heritability for heart ratio was 0.43, and the heritability estimates were low: 0.02 for pvCO(2), 0.03 for pvO(2), and 0.07 for blood oxygen saturation. The estimated heritability for pH was 0.15, for bicarbonate was 0.19, and for total carbon dioxide content was 0.19. The genetic correlations between heart ratio and total carbon dioxide content (0.31 +/- 0.15) and between heart ratio and bicarbonate (0.31 +/- 0.15) were moderate and positive. For pvO(2), the genetic correlation with heart ratio was stronger and negative (-0.62 +/- 0.21); however, this correlation could not be estimated accurately because of the low heritability of pvO(2). For pvCO(2), the genetic correlation with the heart ratio was close to zero (-0.04 +/- 0.45). Phenotypic correlations between traits were, in general, similar to the genetic correlations. Heritabilities for blood gas parameters and the genetic correlations between blood gas parameters and the heart ratio estimated in the present study do not support the suggestion that blood gas parameters measured during wk 3 or 4 are useful traits to select against the susceptibility for ascites.
    Poultry Science 04/2009; 88(3):483-90. · 1.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: 1. Blood oxygen saturation (SaO) is a potential indicator trait for resistance to ascites in chickens. 2. The objective of the study was to investigate the genetic architecture of SaO in a meat-type chicken line reared in commercial conditions. 3. Data were collected over 15 generations of selection and were divided into two data sets on the basis of a change in recording age from 6 to 5 weeks of age, approximately halfway through the period. The resulting pedigrees comprised in excess of 90,000 birds each and, on average, 12% of these birds had SaO records. 4. Segregation analyses of SaO were carried out assuming a mixed inheritance model that included a major locus segregating in a polygenic background. 5. The analyses suggest that a major gene is involved in the genetic control of SaO in this line. The putative gene acts in a dominant fashion and has an additive effect of around 0.90 sigma(p), equivalent to a predicted difference in SaO between the two homozygous classes of more than 10%. The frequency of the allele that increases SaO changed from 0.53 to 0.65 from the first to the second set of data, consistent with selection on SaO scores. 6. Using estimated genotype probabilities at the putative major locus, we inferred that it acts in an overdominant fashion on body weight and fleshing score. If the low SaO allele leads to susceptibility to ascites, its combined effects are consistent with it being maintained in the population by a balance of natural selection on fitness nad artificial selection on growth and carcase traits. 7. Even with selection on both SaO and growth traits, the combined genotypic effects would make it difficult to remove the unfavourable low-SaO allele by means of traditional selection without the use of genetic markers.
    British Poultry Science 01/2007; 47(6):671-84. · 1.15 Impact Factor

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