The effects of the naked neck (Na) and frizzle (F) genes on growth and meat yield of broilers and their interactions with ambient temperatures and potential growth rate

Poult Sci. 1999 Oct;78(10):1347-52. doi: 10.1093/ps/78.10.1347.


High ambient temperatures (AT) decrease the growth of broilers because of difficulty in dissipating heat through the feather coverage. Broilers selected for higher growth rate eat more and generate more heat per unit of time; hence, they may become more sensitive to high AT. Reduced feather coverage, either by decreased number or by modified shape, may help birds to dissipate internal heat more efficiently. Two broiler stocks were studied; each was segregated for four genotypes with regard to the genes for naked neck (Na) and frizzled feathers (F): heterozygous naked neck (Na/na f/f), heterozygous frizzle (na/na F/f), double heterozygous (Na/na F/f), and normally feathered (na/na f/f). One stock had a high growth rate (GR) similar to current commercial broilers, whereas the second stock had a lower GR. Birds of each stock, genotype, and sex were reared under constant standard AT (24 C) or high AT (32 C). Body weight at 4 and 7 wk, weight gain (WG) from 4 to 7 wk, breast meat yield, and feather weight were recorded. Reduction in WG from 4 to 7 wk because of high AT was greater in high-GR birds than in low-GR birds, but, in both stocks, the high AT effect was greater on normally feathered birds than on the other three genotypes. AT 32 C, in low- and high-GR stocks, the F allele increased WG from 4 to 7 wk and increased the BW at 7 wk of fully feathered (na/na) broilers but had no effect on meat yield. The effects of the Na allele were similar to or greater than those of the F allele. The Na allele did not affect breast meat yield of low-GR broilers but increased it significantly in high-GR broilers. Combining the two allles resulted in an additive effect, which was more pronounced in the high-GR stock.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature Regulation / physiology*
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Chickens / growth & development
  • Chickens / physiology
  • Feathers
  • Female
  • Growth*
  • Heat Stress Disorders*
  • Male
  • Meat
  • Selection, Genetic