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Behav Genet. 2004 May;34(3):325-33.

Identification of QTLs involved in open-field behavior in young and adult laying hens.

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Animal Breeding and Genetics Group, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Erratum in

  • Behav Genet. 2007 Jan;37(1):257-8.


Line differences for open-field behavior in chickens have been observed, and it has been shown that this behavior has a genetic component. The aim of this study was to detect quantitative trait loci (QTL) involved in open-field behavior. For this purpose, open-field behavior was studied at 5 and 29 weeks of age in F(2) hens coming from an intercross between two commercial White Leghorn laying lines selected for egg production traits. Latencies, durations, and frequencies of general activity (sitting, standing, walking, and stepping), defecation, and vocalizations were recorded individually for each bird, and a factor score was calculated. All animals (F(0), F(1), and F(2)) were screened with 180 microsatellite markers. Regression interval mapping was applied using both a paternal half-sib analysis and a line-cross analysis method. For general activity at 5 weeks of age, a significant QTL was detected on GGA4 and a suggestive QTL on GGA2 under the line-cross model. For general activity at 29 weeks of age, a significant QTL was detected on GGA4 and two suggestive QTLs were detected on GGA1 and on GGA10, respectively, also using the line-cross analysis. The QTL on GGA4 at 5 weeks of age did not overlap with the QTL on GGA4 at 29 weeks of age. The current study indicated that open-field behavior in young chickens was regulated by QTL that differ from the QTL for open-field behavior in adult chickens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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