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Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 385–389 | Cite as

Genetic variability of resistance to Eimeria acervulina and E. tenella in chickens

  • G. F. Mathis
  • K. W. Washburn
  • L. R. McDougald
Article

Summary

The genetic variability of 18 sire families of the Athens-Canadian randombred population infected with coccidiosis was assessed by examining the response variables of weight gain, packed red blood cell volume, mortality and coccidial lesions. A significant gain and PCV depression and high lesion scores for Eimeria tenella and E. acervulina were produced in the infected group compared to the noninfected group. Significant variation among the sire families was observed for all of the response variables except E. acervulina lesions and a significant sex x sire interaction was observed for weight gain. The heritability (h2) estimates for the response variables revealed that resistance to coccidiosis in chickens is moderately heritable. The h2 estimates for gain and PCV increased with the coccidial infections indicating that maximum progress in selecting for resistance should be made when the population was exposed to coccidial infection. Gain was positively correlated to the other measures of resistance and thus selecting for coccidial resistance should not reduce growth rates. PCV was similarly correlated but had higher positive correlation with E. tenella lesion. Percent mortality which is the selection parameter in most coccidial selection programs was correlated with resistance to coccidiosis. The phenotypic and genotypic correlations demonstrated that chickens susceptible to E. tenella were also susceptible to E. acervulina. Total lesion scores were moderately to highly correlated with the other variables and would be a suitable variable to use in coccidiosis experimentation including a genetic selection program for resistance. This study shows that progress could be made in selecting for resistance to coccidiosis in chickens using one or a combination of these response variables.

Key words

Coccidiosis Eimeria tenella Eimeria acervulina Heritability Genetic resistance 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. F. Mathis
    • 1
  • K. W. Washburn
    • 1
  • L. R. McDougald
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Poultry ScienceUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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