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Effects of the Chicken Sex-linked Dwarf Gene on Growth and Muscle Development

  • Chen, C.F. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Chen, Y.H. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Tixier-Boichard, M. (INRA) ;
  • Cheng, P.Y. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Chang, C.S. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Tang, P.C. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University) ;
  • Lee, Y.P. (Department of Animal Science, National Chung-Hsing University)
  • Received : 2008.12.12
  • Accepted : 2008.02.26
  • Published : 2009.07.01

Abstract

The aim of this study was to analyze the effects on growth and muscle development during the growing period of the sex-linked dwarf gene in the background of a Taiwan Country chicken strain, L2, selected for egg production. Eight crossbred males, heterozygous for the DW*DW mutation, were each backcrossed to six females of the L2 strain to produce two genotypes of BC females, either normal (DW*N+/-) or dwarf (DW*DW/-). The experiment included 251 normal and 207 dwarf pullets. The effect of the dwarf gene on body weight and shank length was highly significant from 2 weeks of age. The reduction of body weight by the dwarf gene reached 34.8% and 37.4% as compared to normal sibs at 16 and 20 weeks of age, respectively. Parameters of the growth curve were estimated: the age at inflection (TI) was higher in normal pullets (66.9 days) than in dwarf pullets (61.2 days). A significant effect of the dwarf gene on single muscle fiber cross-section area was found from 12 weeks of age onwards, whereas the dwarf gene had no effect on the total number of muscle fibers. Comparing the effect of the dwarf gene on shank length at different ages revealed an earlier effect on skeleton growth, observed from 2 weeks of age, than on muscle development, which was affected from 8 to 12 weeks of age.

Keywords

Growth Curve;Muscle Development;Sex-linked Dwarf Gene;Chicken

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