Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 39, Number 5, September-October 2007
Page(s) 513 - 528
Published online 27 September 2007
Genet. Sel. Evol. 39 (2007) 513-528
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2007018

Genotype by environment interactions in relation to growth traits in slow growing chickens

Aya Lydie N'Dria, Nadine Selliera, Michèle Tixier-Boichardb, Catherine Beaumonta and Sandrine Mignon-Grasteaua

a  UR83 Recherches avicoles, INRA, 37380 Nouzilly, France
b  UMR1236 Génétique et diversité animales, INRA-INA PG, Domaine de Vilvert, 78352 Jouy-en-Josas, France

(Received 3 November 2006; accepted 19 April 2007; published online 27 September 2007)

Abstract - Since feed conversion ratio (FCR) is higher in slow-growing "Label Rouge" chickens than in broiler chickens, it is important to work on its improvement in this breed. However, this involves rearing animals in cages (C), an environment very different from that used for selection (in floor pens, S) and production (outdoor, E). The aim of this study was to evaluate the importance of genotype by environment (G $\times $ E) interactions between S, C, and E environments, to find the best way to select for FCR, using 2002 related animals. Growth curve parameters were estimated and body composition measured. Individual feed conversion ratios (FCR) were recorded between 8 and 10 weeks in C. The presence of G $\times $ E interactions was assessed by the genetic correlations between the same trait recorded in different environments. Moderate but significant G $\times $ E interactions were detected for carcass traits, a significant one was observed between E and S or C for growth curve parameters but none between C and S. If G $\times $ E interactions are set aside, i.e. selecting on traits recorded in C, abdominal fatness is the best indirect selection criterion for FCR but if they are taken in account then leg yield or growth curve parameters in S and growth curve parameters in E are better.

Key words: interaction / genetic parameters / feed efficiency / chicken / selection

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007