A meat-type chicken population was divergently selected for high or low early immune responses to Escherichia coli and to Newcastle disease virus (NDV) vaccines. Four selection cycles were performed in one replicate, and a single cycle in a second replicate. Selection was based on sire-family averages of a “Titer Index" - the mean titer of antibodies produced by offspring vaccinated with either E. coli or NDV at 18 or 10 days of age, respectively. After the first selection cycle, the mean “Titer Index" of the EH (early-high) line was higher than that of the EL (early-low) line by 22% and 38% in replicates A and B, respectively. After four selection cycles, the average immune response to E^ coli and NDV of the EH line exceeded that of the EL line by 68%; also the former line was more viable than the latter. Realized heritabilities were .72 and .67 in replicates A and B, respectively. The level of response to the two endemic disease antigens was not genetically correlated.

A. Cahaner, J. Pitkovski, E. D Heller, B. A Peleg

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XI. Genetics of reproduction, lactation, growth, adaptation, disease, and parasite resistance., , 648–653, 1986
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