Genetic and physiological parameters related to body size in five strains and crosses of the domestic turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/r207tt05b

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  • Five lines of turkeys with wide variation in body size, reciprocal crosses between large and small lines, and backcrosses to the large parent line were studied to determine the effect of body size and crossbreeding on growth rate, conformation, feed consumption, organ size, and other physiological traits. Selection was made on the basis of body size only. The largest turkeys were selected in the large lines and the smallest turkeys were selected in the small lines. Decreases in fertility were observed in the large lines but not in the small lines of turkeys during the three year study. Hatchability decreased in all lines. Crossing produced no heteros is in fertility or hatchability. Inheritance of 20 week shank length was quantitative. Wide variations were found in 20 week body weights. Differences in the slope of the regression line is a measurement of the rate of gain in body weight compared to the rate of gain in shank length. The larger lines had steeper slopes from four to eight weeks of age. Weight gain in proportion to shank length growth was greater in the large line than in the small line from four to eight weeks of age. The smaller lines had steeper slopes after 12 weeks of age. Body weight gain in proportion to shank length growth during this period in the small lines was higher because of the greatly reduced rate of growth in shank length. Adrenal, gonad, heart, pituitary, and liver weights were significantly affected by age, sex, and line of the turkeys. However, no differences were found between slopes of the regression lines of log organ weight on log body weight. Thyroid weight was significantly affected by age but not by sex or line. The slope of the regression of log thyroid weight on log body weight was significantly steeper in the next to smallest than it was in the females in the next to largest line. With one exception, a negative correlation was found between hematocrit value and body weight. Hematocrit values of young males and females in the largest line were significantly lower than the hematocrit values of the other lines. The hematocrit values of adult females in the smallest line were lower than normal for the size of the turkeys. It is possible that this line has a lower than normal metabolic rate. However, no significant differences were found in rectal temperature between lines. Feed consumption of adult females was in proportion to body size and egg production. Feed conversion of young turkeys in the smallest line was significantly higher than the other lines. The feed in efficiency of these turkeys was not transmitted to the backcross line. Differences in muscle cell size were found between the largest and the smallest lines of turkeys. However, differences in muscle cell size did not account for all the differences in body weight between or within lines. In proportion to other long bones in the skeleton, the tarsometatarsus of the hen in the smallest line was short. This may be related to a lethal mutation which was found in high frequency in that line. The mutant has a parrot beak and short, thick appendages. The data indicate that it is caused by a single autosomal recessive gene. Because of the phenotypic similarity between this mutant and micromelia mutants in chickens and quail mi, the mutant gene was similarly designated mi for micromelia.
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