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Open Access Research article

Whole genome QTL mapping for growth, meat quality and breast meat yield traits in turkey

Muhammad L Aslam1*, John WM Bastiaansen1, Richard PMA Crooijmans1, Addie Vereijken2 and Martien AM Groenen1

Author Affiliations

1 Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen University, 6709PG, Wageningen, the Netherlands

2 Hendrix Genetics, Research & Technology Centre, 5830 AC, Boxmeer, the Netherlands

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BMC Genetics 2011, 12:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-61

Published: 11 July 2011

Abstract

Background

The turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is an important agricultural species and is the second largest contributor to the world's poultry meat production. Demand of turkey meat is increasing very rapidly. Genetic markers linked to genes affecting quantitative traits can increase the selection response of animal breeding programs. The use of these molecular markers for the identification of quantitative trait loci, and subsequently fine-mapping of quantitative trait loci regions, allows for pinpointing of genes that underlie such economically important traits.

Results

The quantitative trait loci analyses of the growth curve, body weight, breast yield and the meat quality traits showed putative quantitative trait loci on 21 of the 27 turkey chromosomes covered by the linkage map. Forty-five quantitative trait loci were detected across all traits and these were found in 29 different regions on 21 chromosomes. Out of the 45 quantitative trait loci, twelve showed significant (p < 0.01) evidence of linkage while the remaining 33 showed suggestive evidence (p < 0.05) of linkage with different growth, growth curve, meat quality and breast yield traits.

Conclusion

A large number of quantitative trait loci were detected across the turkey genome, which affected growth, breast yield and meat quality traits. Pleiotropic effects or close linkages between quantitative trait loci were suggested for several of the chromosomal regions. The comparative analysis regarding the location of quantitative trait loci on different turkey, and on the syntenic chicken chromosomes, along with their phenotypic associations, revealed signs of functional conservation between these species.