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The effects of genetic selection for survivability and productivity on chicken physiological homeostasis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 September 2007

H. Cheng*
Livestock Behaviour Research Unit, USDA-ARS, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
W.M. Muir
Animal Sciences Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
*Corresponding author:
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Genetic selection is an important breeding tool that can be used for improving animal's coping capability to modern production environments or for increasing economic benefits. However, over the past five decades, commercial breeding programmes have primarily concentrated on traits directly related to productivity. As a result those breeding programmes ignore traits that may impact animal welfare. To address this issue, a selection programme termed “group selection” developed. This method takes into account competitive interactions by emphasizing performance of the group, rather than the individual. Results from the current studies have showed that chickens'productivity and well-being can be improved the same time. We further demonstrated an association between the selected survivability and productivity and its respective physiological characteristics. These findings indicate that group selection altered the chickens' physiological homeostasis which is reflected in the line's unique coping ability with intensified domestic environments. These changes in physiological homeostasis provide an opportunity gain new insights for the development of interventions aimed at ameliorating the adverse impacts of the intensified poultry industry.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2005

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