During the domestication of farm animals, humans have manipulated genetic variation for growth and reproduction through artificial selection. Here, data are presented for growth, reproductive, and behavior traits for the red junglefowl, a line of White Plymouth Rock chickens, and their F1 and F2 reciprocal crosses. Intra- and intergenerational comparisons for growth related traits reflected considerable additive genetic variation. In contrast, those traits associated with reproduction exhibited heterosis. The role of sexual selection was seen in the evolution of prominent secondary sexual ornaments that lend to female choice and male-male competition. The large differences between parental lines in fearfulness to humans were only mitigated slightly in the intercross generations. Whereas, overall F1 generation heterosis was not transferred to the F2, there was developmental stability in the F2, as measured by relative asymmetry of bilateral traits. Through multigenerational analyses between the red junglefowl and the domestic White Plymouth Rocks, we observed plasticity and considerable residual genetic variation. These factors likely facilitated the adaptability of the chicken to a broad range of husbandry practices throughout the world.
Chickens Body weight Breast weight Fat Symmetries
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DATS, BD, CFH and PBS performed the experiment; DATS, BD, LA and PBS designed the experiments; DATS and PBS analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript; all authors reviewed manuscript drafts.
Compliance with ethical standards
All procedures were carried out in accordance with the guidelines approved by Virginia Tech Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
Conflict of interests
There are no potential conflicts of interests
Studies with human participants
This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.
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