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Social preference and support seeking in chickens is related to genotype on a growth QTL
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]

A growth related QTL on chicken chromosome 1 has previously been shown to influence both emotionality and social behaviour in an intercross line between Red Junglefowl (RJF, ancestor of all domestic chicken breeds) and the domesticated White Leghorn layer (WL). Social support from a familiar animal has been shown to attenuate stress response in other species. In this study we therefore used the RJF×WL intercross line to investigate whether stress in the form of physical restraint affects the way birds allocate their time between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics in a social preference test. A refined QTL study was performed, focussing on the region of the previously reported growth QTL to find possible loci affecting traits related to social preference and social support. A significant QTL was found to influence both social preference under undisturbed circumstances and social support seeking in response to stress. A WL allele at this QTL was associated with a preference for unfamiliar individuals but also with a shift towards familiar ones in response to stress. A second, suggestive, QTL also affected social support seeking, but in the opposite direction; a WL allele was associated with seeking social support from unfamiliar individuals. It is difficult to speculate on causative genes, but it is worth noting that AVPR1a (known for effects on social behaviour), AVPR2, NRCAM (related to autism) and GRIP1 (Glutamate Receptor Interacting Protein) are located this chromosomal area.

Keyword [en]
Chicken; domestication; QTL; social behaviour; social support
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-73985OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-73985DiVA: diva2:479678
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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