Selection and Crossbreeding in Relation to Plumage Color Inheritance in Three Chinese Egg Type Duck Breeds (Anas Platyrhynchos)

  • Lin, R.L. (Fujian Longyan Shan Ma Duck Station) ;
  • Chen, H.P. (Fujian Longyan Shan Ma Duck Station) ;
  • Rouvier, R. (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Station d'Amelioration Genetique des Animaux) ;
  • Poivey, J.P. (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, UMR868 Systemes d'Elevage Mediterraneens et Tropicaux, SELMET)
  • Received : 2013.05.22
  • Accepted : 2014.01.13
  • Published : 2014.08.01


In China and South East Asia, the duck (common duck) is important in egg production for human consumption. Plumage color is a breed characteristic and of economic importance, together with egg production. Our aim in this study was to investigate the inheritance of plumage color in three Chinese indigenous egg-type duck breeds, Shan Ma (S), Putian White (F) and Putian black (P), and some of their crossbreds. These three breeds have different plumage color and are used in crossbreeding. The crossbred laying ducks $F{\times}(P{\times}S)$ and $F{\times}(S{\times}P)$ showed highly improved laying ability but heterogeneous plumage color. Genotypes at four relevant loci were investigated by studying down color and pattern in ducklings after crossbreeding. $F_1$ ducklings from the matings $F{\times}S$ and $S{\times}F$, $P{\times}S$, and $S{\times}P$ were classified into four classes of plumage color (the Shan Ma plumage color, black, white, or multicolored) over three generations. Parents were selected for the Shan Ma plumage color of their progeny. In the fourth generation, P male and P female ducks were selected according to the frequency of the desired class of plumage color (Shan Ma) of their $F_1$ progeny to obtain the so-called "Brown Putian Ma duck". The Shan Ma duck genotype was identified as having the restricted mallard color pattern ($M^RM^R$), full expression of any of the patterns or colors (CC), no extended black (ee) and no brown dilution D (D). The Putian White genotype was recessive white (cc), no extended black (ee) and no brown dilution D (D). The Putian Black genotype exhibited full expression of extended black (E gene) and no brown dilution (CCEE D [D]). It was shown that $F{\times}S$ and $S{\times}F$ tests should be implemented to eliminate the recessive white c allele in the S line and the dominant extended black E allele in the F line. It was also shown that the Brown Putian Ma obtained from Putian Black, with no extended black genotype (ee), could be used to get rid of the black plumage (E gene) in the crossbred ducks. This could provide a solution for producing 3-way crossbred ducks Putian $White{\times}$(Putian-$Ma{\times}Shan$ Ma) and Putian $White{\times}$(Shan $Ma{\times}Putian$-Ma), with the desired Shan Ma feather color.


Egg-type Ducks;Plumage Color Inheritance;Crossbreeding;Selection


  1. Li, S., C. Wang, W. Yu, S. Zhao, and Y. Gong. 2012. Identification of genes related to White and Black Plumage formation by RNA-seq from White and Black feather bulbs in ducks. PloS ONE 7(5):e36592.
  2. Liu, W., Z. C. Hou, L. J. Qu, Y. H. Huang, J. F. Yao, N. Li, and N. Yang. 2008. Population structure and biodiversity of Chinese indigenous duck breeds revealed by 15 microsatellite markers. Asian Australas. J. Anim. Sci. 21:314-319.
  3. Pingel, H. 2009. Waterfowl production for food security. Conference at the 4th World Waterfowl conference, Thrissur, India, 6 p.
  4. Tai, C. and J. J. Liu Tai. 2001. Future prospects of duck production in Asia. J. Poult. Sci. 38:99-112.
  5. Xu, G. F. and K. W. Chen. 2003. Photograph album of China indigeneous poultry breeds. Beijing, China Agricultural Press.
  6. Yiu, X., C. X. Sheng, Q. N. Lin, D. L. Wang, G. Y. Wang, J. G. Wang, Q. X. Guang, Y. L. Yi, M. Y. Li, Y. L. Li, and T. J. Qiu. 1985. Atlas and Species Profile of Fujian Livestock and Poultry Breeds. Shan Ma ducks. Fujian Science and Technology Publishing House, Fuzhou, China, pp. 51-52.
  7. Dong, T., R. L. Lin, and H. P. Chen. 2011. The selection of three lines Shanma duck with high egg production. Contemporary Animal Husbandry 3:38-40.
  8. Gong, Y., Q. Yang, S. Li, Y. Feng, C. Gao, G. Tu, and X. Peng. 2010. Grey plumage coloration in the duck is genetically determined by the alleles on two different, interacting loci. Anim. Genet. 41:105-108.
  9. Jaap, R. G. 1933a. Inheritance of white spotting in ducks. Poult. Sci. 12:233-241.
  10. Jaap, R. G. 1933b. Light phase mallard ducks. J. Hered. 24:467-472.
  11. Jaap, R. G. 1934. Alleles of the Mallard plumage pattern in ducks. Genetics 19:310-322.
  12. Lancaster, F. M. 1963. The inheritance of plumage color in the common duck (Anas Platyrhynchos Linne). Bibliographia Genetica XIX, 's-Gravenhage: M. Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands, pp.317-404.
  13. Lancaster, F. M. 1990. Mutations and major variants in domestic ducks. In: Poultry Breeding and Genetics (Ed. R. D. Crawford). Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Chapter 16. pp. 381-387.

Cited by

  1. Productivity, reproductive performance, and fat deposition of laying duck breeders in response to concentrations of dietary energy and protein pp.1525-3171, 2019,