Growth can be considered as investments of primarily energy and protein. These investments will create costs for maintenance. During growth the various,organs of the body can be divided into two main groups (consuming and supplying organs) according to their function (Lilja 1981),. The consuming organs (e.g. skeleton, muscles, skin, feathers and adipose tissue) are characterized by requiring mainly investment and maintenance costs, and the supplying organs (e.g. digestive organs, liver, circulatory and respiratory organs) by also being responsible for making energy available for growth processes. Growth ceases at the moment when the energy surplus from the supplying organs just covers the maintenance costs of the consuming organs. A hypothesis has been formulated stating that the rate at which growth proceeds is at least partly determined by the distribution of growth between different organs (Knutsson, Sperber & Lilja 1980). Accordingly, animals characterized by an early.development of supplying organs in relation to consuming organs ought to be characterized by a high specific growth rate.

In order to test the hypothesis studies of organ growth have been undertaken in some birds with widely ranging growth rate factors (Lilja 1981 and 1982). The growth rate factor (a measure of the growth capacity when the influence of size is eliminated) has been defined previously by Bjbrnhag, Knutsson & Sperber (1979). By means of the growth rate factors i t is possible to compare the growth capacity of species with widely different birth weights.

The present paper describes the pattern of organ growth of the turkey, a species with a low growth rate factor (Bjbrnhag 1979), and presents some comparative data for the goose (Lilja 1981), a species with a high growth rate factor.

C. Lilja, P.G. Knutsson

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 7. Symposia (1), , 439-443, 1982
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