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Long-term selection for 8-week body weight in chickens — direct and correlated responses

Summary

A bidirectional selection experiment for 8-week body weight in chickens was conducted. In addition to 27 generations of selection, random samples were chosen from each selected line in generations 6, 13, 19 and 26 to initiate lines in which selection was relaxed. Genetic change was evident in the selected high-weight line through the first 75% of the study after which response in the direction opposing selection occurred. Selection for low body weight resulted in considerable reduction in body size, particularly in the last quarter of the study. Correlated responses evaluated were body weight at several ages, conformation, age at onset of lay, various reproductive and egg quality traits and ratio (female: male) of some traits. Data from lines where selection was relaxed indicated that natural selection opposed artificial selection with the effects greater in later generations.

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Communicated by H. Abplanalp

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Dunnington, E.A., Siegel, P.B. Long-term selection for 8-week body weight in chickens — direct and correlated responses. Theoret. Appl. Genetics 71, 305–313 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00252072

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Key words

  • Long-term selection
  • Chickens
  • Body weight
  • Relaxed selection
  • Correlated responses
  • Reproduction