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Poult Sci. 2009 Jun;88(6):1156-61. doi: 10.3382/ps.2008-00547.

Genetic variability in residual variation of body weight and conformation scores in broiler chickens.

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Department of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wolynska 33, 60-637 Poznan, Poland.


The aim of the study was to estimate genetic variance in residual variation of BW and body conformation scores of 34-d-old male and female broiler chickens. The data set included performance records of 52,349 female and 49,001 male birds. Two models were used: an iterative mean-variance restricted maximum likelihood sire plus dam model and a Bayesian sire plus dam model, in each case with heterogeneity in residual variances across sire families. They gave similar results. Estimates of heritability for BW in females and males were, respectively, 0.25 and 0.21, and for conformation score were 0.24 and 0.15, and genetic correlations for the same trait between sexes were high. Estimates of genetic correlations between means and variances were positive for both sexes and both traits. Estimates of the heritability of residual variation were low, between 0.023 and 0.038 for both traits, but genetic CV were substantial (between 0.25 and 0.40), indicating the possibility of improving uniformity of BW and conformation by means of selection.

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