The genetics of feed conversion efficiency traits in a commercial broiler line

Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 10;5:16387. doi: 10.1038/srep16387.


Individual feed conversion efficiency (FCE) is a major trait that influences the usage of energy resources and the ecological footprint of livestock production. The underlying biological processes of FCE are complex and are influenced by factors as diverse as climate, feed properties, gut microbiota, and individual genetic predisposition. To gain an insight to the genetic relationships with FCE traits and to contribute to the improvement of FCE in commercial chicken lines, a genome-wide association study was conducted using a commercial broiler population (n = 859) tested for FCE and weight traits during the finisher period from 39 to 46 days of age. Both single-marker (generalized linear model) and multi-marker (Bayesian approach) analyses were applied to the dataset to detect genes associated with the variability in FCE. The separate analyses revealed 22 quantitative trait loci (QTL) regions on 13 different chromosomes; the integration of both approaches resulted in 7 overlapping QTL regions. The analyses pointed to acylglycerol kinase (AGK) and general transcription factor 2-I (GTF2I) as positional and functional candidate genes. Non-synonymous polymorphisms of both candidate genes revealed evidence for a functional importance of these genes by influencing different biological aspects of FCE.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Body Weight / genetics
  • Chickens / genetics*
  • Chromosomes
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*