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A Growth QTL on Chicken Chromosome 1 Affects Emotionality and Sociality
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2011 (English)In: Behavior Genetics, ISSN 0001-8244, E-ISSN 1573-3297, Vol. 41, no 2, 303-311 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Domestication of animals, regardless of species, is often accompanied by simultaneous changes in several physiological and behavioral traits (e.g. growth rate and fearfulness). In this study we compared the social behavior and emotional reactivity, as measured in a battery of behavioral tests, of two groups of chickens selected from a common genetic background, an advanced intercross line between the ancestral red junglefowl ("RJF") and the domesticated White Leghorn layer ("WL"). The birds were selected for homozygosity for alternative alleles at one locus (a microsatellite marker), centrally positioned in a previously identified pleiotropic growth QTL on chromosome 1, closely linked to one major candidate gene (AVPR1a) for certain aspects of social behavior. Birds homozygous for the WL allele ("WL genotype") had a modified pattern of social and emotional reactions than birds homozygous for the RJF allele ("RJF genotype"), shown by different scores in a principal components analysis. These results suggest that the growth QTL affects a number of domestication related behavioral traits, and may have been a primary target of selection during domestication. The QTL contains a multitude of genes, several of which have been linked to social behavior (for example the vasotocin receptor AVPR1a targeted in this experiment). Future studies aimed at making a higher resolution genotypic characterization of the QTL should give more information about which of these genes may be considered the strongest candidates for bringing about the behavioral changes associated with animal domestication.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Science Business Media , 2011. Vol. 41, no 2, 303-311 p.
Keyword [en]
Chicken, QTL, Domestication, Behavioral genetics, Social behavior, Emotionality
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-67037DOI: 10.1007/s10519-010-9377-6ISI: 000287749700014OAI: diva2:406275
Available from: 2011-03-25 Created: 2011-03-25 Last updated: 2012-01-18
In thesis
1. Correlated selection responses in animal domestication: the behavioural effects of a growth QTL in chickens
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Correlated selection responses in animal domestication: the behavioural effects of a growth QTL in chickens
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Studying animal domestication offers an opportunity to understand the mechanisms of evolution. Domestication is associated with a change in selection pressures; selection for production traits is introduced, and animals are faced with larger and denser social groups. It is not unexpected then that domestication produces a simultaneous change in a number of traits, both physiological and behavioural. This correlated change in traits, e.g. egg production and social behaviour has been termed the “domestic phenotype”. However, it has been shown that selection for one trait alone among the many associated with the domestic phenotype can lead to simultaneous changes in others. This may be a result of such traits being inherited together because of pleiotropy or close linkage of several genes affecting different traits. A chicken growth QTL has previously been found in an intercross between White Leghorn layers (WL) and their main wild ancestor, the red junglefowl (RJF). This QTL has also been found to influence explorative and social behaviours. This thesis aims to characterize this QTL further with respect to social and emotional behaviours, and tries to clarify whether pleiotropy or linkage is responsible for the many observed effects. This is done using behavioural phenotyping, genetic marker genotyping, QTL- and gene expression analysis of an intercross line between RJF and WL, and to some extent of the parental RJF and WL lines themselves. The results show that domestication in these chickens has led to increased social tolerance to unfamiliar conspecifics and a tendency to a decrease in the propensity of chickens to explore the environment, and that these effects are partly explained by the previously described growth QTL. The results also indicate that close linkage of genes, rather than pleiotropy, may be responsible for the multiple effect of the QTL, as different traits to some extent seem to be influenced by different areas within the larger QTL region. This information, in combination with that of other studies and with existing and upcoming genetic research techniques, may be used in the design of future breeding programs that take animal behaviour and welfare as well as production traits into account. Findings like these may also be of use in directing research in human psychiatric genetics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2012. 42 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1413
National Category
Natural Sciences
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73987 (URN)978-91-7393-013-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-01-20, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 09:15 (English)
Available from: 2012-01-18 Created: 2012-01-18 Last updated: 2012-01-18Bibliographically approved

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