A major challenge for molecular biologists interested in animal breeding is the identification of alleles which determine quantitative traits. Chickens are an ideal system for this goal, due to the short generation interval, the existence of genetically well defined strains and their commercial value. Here we describe two approaches towards the identification of quantitative trait genes. The first and most labour extensive approach, is the identification of chromosomal markers, the construction of a gene map and a segregation analysis of quantitative traits with chromosomal markers. The second approach is the identification of alleles which respond to selection. It requires the availability of well defined selected and non-selected strains of chickens and a judicial choice of the chromosomal segments to be analyzed. Three examples are given where the latter approach appears to have been successful. They concern the influence of selection for egg production and/or Marek's disease resistance on the incidence of endogenous viral genes, of a VNTR-locus and of alleles of the proto-oncogene mvb.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume XVI. Poultry, fish and horse genetics and breeding, growth and reproduction, immune response and disease resistance., , 21–30, 1990
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