The density of contour feathers is an important trait as it is closely related to heat dissipation in birds. Thus, identification of the major genes that control this trait will be useful to improve heat tolerance in chicken. So far, no GWAS study for the density of contour feathers in birds has been previously published; therefore, this study was aimed to identify genomic regions controlling the density of contour feathers. A total of 1252 hens were genotyped, using the 600 K Affymetrix Axiom Chicken Genotyping Array. The association analyses were performed using the GenABEL package in the R program. In brief, 146 significant SNP markers were mainly located on chromosome 1 and were identified to associate with the density of contour feathers in the current GWAS analysis. Moreover, we identified several within/nearby candidate genes (SUCLA2, DNAJC15, DHRS12, MLNR, and RB1) that are either directly or indirectly involved in the genetic control of the density of contour feathers in chicken. This study laid the foundation for studying the mechanism that underlies the density of chicken feathers. Furthermore, it is feasible to shear the back feathers of live chickens and measure the density of the feathers to improve heat tolerance in breeding practice.
Keywords: Density of contour feather; Dongxiang blue-shelled chicken; GWAS; White leghorn.
© King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology 2019.