Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 33, Number 6, November-December 2001
Page(s) 659 - 670
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2001135

Genet. Sel. Evol. 33 (2001) 659-670

Effect of the slow (K) or rapid (k+) feathering gene on body and feather growth and fatness according to ambient temperature in a Leghorn $\times$ brown egg type cross

Jean-Claude Fotsaa, Philippe Mératb and André Bordasb

a  Centre régional de recherche agricole de Nkolbisson, Institut de recherche agricole pour le développement, BP 2067 Yaoundé, Cameroun
b  Laboratoire de génétique factorielle, Institut national de la recherche agronomique, Centre de recherche de Jouy-en-Josas, Domaine de Vilvert, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, France

(Received 4 December 2000; accepted 11 June 2001)

Chicks of both sexes issued from the cross of heterozygous K/k+ cocks for the slow-feathering sex linked K allele with k+ (rapid feathering) hens, were compared from the age of 4 to 10 weeks at two ambient temperatures. In individual cages, 30 male chicks of each genotype (K/k+ and k+/k+) were raised at 21 °C, and 60 others, distributed in the same way, were raised at 31 °C. 71 K/W females and 69 k+/W females were raised in a floor pen at 31 °C till 10 weeks of age. In the males, the body weight, feed consumption and feed efficiency at different ages were influenced only by temperature (lower growth rate and feed intake at 31 °C); no significant effects of the genotype at locus K nor genotype $\times$ temperature interaction were observed. In females, all at 31 °C, the genotype (K/W or k+/W) had no significant effect on growth rate. Plumage weight and weight of abdominal fat (absolute or related to body weight) were measured on half of the males of each group in individual cages, at 10 weeks of age. Moreover, on 36 males and 48 females of the two genotypes, in a group battery at 31 °C, the absolute and relative weight of plumage were measured on a sample every two weeks between 4 and 10 weeks. In the first case, no significant effect of genotype appeared. In the second case, an interaction between age and genotype was suggested from plumage weight: its growth, especially in male chicks, appears to be temporarily and unexpectedly faster from 4 to 6 weeks of age for the K/k+ and K/W genotypes.

Key words: slow-feathering alleles / rapid-feathering alleles / growth rate / feed consumption / feather growth / abdominal fat deposition

Correspondence and reprints: André Bordas

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2001