Submitted to: International Journal of Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/15/2015
Publication Date: 9/28/2015
Citation: Wang, C., Kulkarni, G., Zhang, H. 2015. Reproductive characteristics differed in a series of B-congenic lines of white leghorns evidently indicating significant influence of major histocompatibility complex in chickens. International Journal of Poultry Science. 14(8):441-448.
Interpretive Summary: Major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a set of cell surface molecules resulted from translation of a large gene family, controls a major part of immune system in mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. We investigated a series of specialized lines of chickens, which each exclusively possesses one or another type of MHC. Data examined in this investigation showed MHC significantly influence reproductive performance in chickens. This finding is of importance to the poultry industry in seeking to improve reproductive performance in lines of chickens.
Technical Abstract: Reproductive characteristics were compared between a series of seven B-congenic lines of White Leghorns retrospectively using eight year’s reproduction records.The records encompass a total of 33,010 fertile eggs set to hatch under controlled conditions, which were collected accumulatively from 2,129 young hens on the USDA-ARS, Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory specific pathogen free farm during the years (2008-2015). Over the eight year period, average fertility, embryo mortality, and hatchability of fertile eggs ranged from 71.6 ± 0.77 (line 15.N-21) to 88.2 ± 0.56 (line 15.P-19), 18.6 ± 0.83 (line 15.6-2) to 28.5 ± 0.84 (line 15.N-21), and 41.2 ± 0.92 (line 15.N-21) to 57.6 ± 1.09 (line 15.6-2) between the B-congenic lines, and from 73.0 ± 0.93 (2014) to 87.2 ± 0.58 (2011), 19.5 ± 0.84 (2012) to 35.2 ± 0.97 (2009), and 38.3 ± 1.02 (2009) to 55.4 ±1.12 (2014) between the years, respectively. Statistical analyses showed both B-congenic line (genetics) and the year of line reproduction (environmental) as well as the line by year (genetics by environment) interaction significantly influenced the reproductive characteristics (P < 0.0001). Considerable variation observed between the B-Congenic lines each year suggests the reproductive performance followed a polygenic model of inheritance, which are attributable to genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) loci. Findings from this study document the reproductive characteristics of the 7 B-congenic lines of White Leghorns and add to the mounting evidence that MHC affects reproductive characteristics in a diverse species including human, wild chimpanzees, fish, bovine, swine, mice, rats, and chickens.