Domestication Affected Heart Rate Regulation in Juvenile Chickens
2015 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
The domestication process in chickens has involved strong selection for productive traits. There is a broad understanding of phenotypic differences between domestic breeds and their ancestor, the Red Junglefowl (RJF), on fear related behaviors, genetic architecture, physiology and productive traits. Some of these characters can potentially be explained by changes in the activity of the autonomic nervous system. To address these questions we measured heart rate as a proxy for autonomic activity in the Red Junglefowl and compared it with two domestic strains, a broiler (BRO) (meat production) and a White Leghorn strain (HY) (egg production) at two and six weeks of age. Autonomic tones were pharmacologically manipulated in broilers to assess heart rate regulation during maturation. To investigate the dynamics of autonomic control animals were measured during baseline conditions and during acute stress.
At two weeks of age baseline heart rate was high in all strains (RJF: 541.2±18.3, HY: 506.8±38.8, BRO: 456.0±22.3) and progressively decreased with age (RJF: 491.3±10.9, HY: 386.8±25.1, BRO:_296.8±26.9). BRO had a lower heart rate compared to RJF and HY, and the differences could not be explained by allometry alone. There was a domestication effect in BRO but not HY, which were in general more similar to RJF. These findings suggest that positive selection for somatic growth has changed heart rate regulation in broilers. During acute stress heart rate did not decrease with age in the same way than baseline values, which means that there is an increased scope for raising heart rate above baseline with age. At least in broilers the increased heart rate scope is due to a recruitment in adrenergic control in absence of a patent cholinergic tone.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117422OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-117422DiVA: diva2:808020