Ek W, Strömstedt L, Wahlberg P, Siegel P, Andersson L, Carlborg O
Physiol. Genomics 42 (1) 20-22 [2010-06-00; online 2010-03-25]
A network of four interacting loci has been reported previously to influence growth in two lines of chickens divergently selected for body weight at 56 days of age. Located on chromosomes 3 (Growth4), 4 (Growth6), 7 (Growth9), and 20 (Growth12), they explained nearly half of the difference in body weight at selection age between the two lines. The original study reported effects on body weight and fat deposition, but no attempts were made to explore the effects of the network on other phenotypes measured in the F(2) population. In this study we conducted further analyses to evaluate the specific effects of the four-locus network on other metabolic traits as well as refining results from the original study by including a larger number of genetic markers in the quantitative trait locus (QTL) regions. We confirm the previously described effect of the epistatic network on body weight and show that the network increases the total amount of muscle and fat as well as the weight of the internal organs. The network as a whole did not change the relative content of any studied organs or tissues in the body. There was, however, a significant interaction between the loci on chromosomes 3 and 7 that changed the relative proportion of abdominal fat and breast muscle in the chicken by increasing abdominal fat weight without a corresponding increase in muscle mass.