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Effects of a Chicken Growth QTL on Behaviour are due to Linkage rather than Pleiotropy
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2329-2635
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

earlier studies, we have found pleiotropic effects of a growth QTL in chickens on behavioural traits that have changed as a result of domestication. In this study we performed a) a refined analysis of the QTL in an advanced intercross line between Red Junglefowl (RJF) and White Leghorn layers (WL) to investigate if different behavioural and physiological traits are associated with different regions of the QTL, and b) brain gene expression analysis (using qRT-PCR) in RJF and WL, comparing the expression between breeds of a number of genes within the growth QTL that may be considered candidates for affecting behavioural traits. The refined QTL analysis was performed on 62 birds from a selected line corresponding to the F7 generation of an RJF×WL intercross (SAIL). The gene expression analysis was performed on 12 RJF and 10 WL birds. In addition to recording of weight data, the SAIL birds were exposed to a behavioural test measuring aspects of sociality and emotionality. The QTL analysis found a significant association between body weight at 8 days of age and a 1.7 MB region in the QTL, and a suggestive association between emotionality related behaviours and a different part, 7.5 MB large, of the QTL. The gene expression analysis showed differential expression of AVPR2 (receptor for vasotocin), possibly AVPR1a (another vasotocin receptor) and NRCAM (involved in neural development) in the lower frontal lobes of the brains of RJF and WL birds. It therefore seems that linkage of several different genes affecting different traits, rather than pleiotropy of one or a few, may explain the many effects of this QTL, and that AVPR2, AVPR1a and NRCAM cannot be discarded as candidate genes for the observed effects.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73984OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-73984DiVA: diva2:479673
Available from: 2012-01-18 Created: 2012-01-18 Last updated: 2015-03-11Bibliographically approved
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.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1413
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
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)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-01-18 Created: 2012-01-18 Last updated: 2012-01-18Bibliographically approved

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Wirén, AndersWright, DominicJensen, Per

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