Genetic background of body reserves in laying hens through backfat thickness phenotyping - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Preprints, Working Papers, ... Year : 2023

Genetic background of body reserves in laying hens through backfat thickness phenotyping


In this study, we pursued three primary objectives: firstly to test and validate the phenotyping of backfat thickness as an indicator of the overall fatness of laying hens; secondly, to estimate genetic parameters for this trait; thirdly, to study the phenotypic and genetic relationships between this trait and other traits related to production and body composition. To address these questions, hens from two lines under divergent selection for residual feed intake, were phenotyped for body weight, body composition traits (backfat, total fat volume, and blood adipokines levels), and egg number. Linear mixed models enabled to estimate variance components and calculate genetic parameters. The two lines largely differed in body fatness: the efficient line had larger backfat and lower chemerin levels compared to the inefficient line. However, there were no significantly differences between the two lines concerning body weight, total fat volume, other blood adipokines levels (adiponectin, ghrelin, and visfatin), and egg production. The genetic parameter estimation revealed moderate heritability (0.38 and 0.42) for backfat and body weight, high heritability (higher than 0.80) for blood adipokines levels and low heritability (0.24 and 0.27) for egg production and total fat volume. The backfat and total fat volume were genetically highly and positively correlated (0.91). The body weight and total fat volume were also highly positively correlated (0.67). However, backfat and body weight were moderately positively correlated (0.39). The genetic correlation between backfat and egg number was moderate and negative. In conclusion, backfat could provide additional genetic information to that of the body weight as a selection criterion for body reserves. However, its correlation with laying performance should be taken into account to avoid undesired responses to selection.
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Dates and versions

hal-04172576 , version 1 (27-07-2023)
hal-04172576 , version 2 (17-11-2023)
hal-04172576 , version 3 (09-12-2023)




  • HAL Id : hal-04172576 , version 3

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Seyed Abbas Rafat. 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. .
Peer Community in Animal Science. 2023-12-11


Nicolas Bédère, Joëlle Dupont, Yannick Baumard, Christophe Staub, David Gourichon, et al.. Genetic background of body reserves in laying hens through backfat thickness phenotyping. 2023. ⟨hal-04172576v3⟩
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