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Front Genet. 2012 Mar 2;3:29. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2012.00029. eCollection 2012.

Generation of a multi-locus chicken introgression line to study the effects of genetic interactions on metabolic phenotypes in chickens.

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  • 1Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Uppsala, Sweden.


Most biological traits are regulated by a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors. By intercrossing divergent lines, it is possible to identify individual and interacting QTL involved in the genetic architecture of these traits. When the loci have been mapped, alternative strategies are needed for fine-mapping and studying the individual and interactive effects of the QTL in detail. We have previously identified, replicated, and fine mapped a four-locus QTL network that determines nearly half of the eightfold difference in body weight at 56 days of age between two divergently selected chicken lines. Here, we describe, to our knowledge, the first generation of a three-locus QTL introgression line in chickens. Recurrent marker-assisted backcrossing was used to simultaneously transfer QTL alleles from the low-weight selected line into the high-weight selected line. Three generations of backcrossing and one generation of intercrossing resulted in an introgression line where all three introgressed QTL and several unlinked and linked control-loci were segregating at nearly expected allele frequencies. We show how intensive selection can be applied using artificial insemination to rapidly generate a multi-locus introgression line and provide recommendations for future breeding of introgression lines. This confirmed introgression line will facilitate later detailed studies of the effects of genetic interactions on complex traits in this population, including growth, and body-composition traits.


QTL; chicken; epistasis; introgression

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