Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 294, Issue 1, pp 243–252 | Cite as

A longitudinal quantitative trait locus mapping of chicken growth traits

  • Tatsuhiko GotoEmail author
  • Akira Ishikawa
  • Masahide Nishibori
  • Masaoki TsudzukiEmail author
Original Article


Since the growth traits of chickens are largely related to the production of meat and eggs, it is definitely important to understand genetic basis of growth traits. Although many quantitative trait loci (QTLs) that affect growth traits have recently been reported in chickens, little is known about genetic architecture of growth traits across all growth stages. Therefore, we conducted a longitudinal QTL study of growth traits measured from 0 to 64 weeks of age using 134 microsatellite DNA markers on 26 autosomes from 406 F2 females, which resulted from an intercross of Oh-Shamo and White Leghorn chicken breeds. We found 27 and 21 independent main-effect QTLs for body weight and shank length, respectively. Moreover, 15 and 4 pairs of epistatic QTLs were found for body weight and shank length, respectively. Taken together, the present study revealed 48 QTLs for growth traits on 21 different autosomes, and these loci clearly have age-specific effects on phenotypes throughout stages that are important for meat and egg productions. Approximately 60% of Oh-Shamo-derived alleles increased the phenotypic values, corresponding to the fact that Oh-Shamo traits were higher than those of White Leghorn. On the other hand, remaining Oh-Shamo alleles decreased the phenotypic values. Our results clearly indicated that the growth traits of chickens are regulated by several main and epistatic QTLs that are widely distributed in the chicken genome, and that the QTLs have age-dependent manners of controlling the traits. This study implies importance of not only cross-sectional but also longitudinal growth data for further understanding of the complex genetic architecture in animal.


Age-related change Chickens Epistasis Growth trait Genetic architecture 



We thank all the members of Laboratory of Animal Breeding and Genetics in Hiroshima University for their support of data collection.


This work was supported in part by a grant in aid for Scientific Research (B) (#19380159) from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science awarded to M.T. and A.I.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Tatsuhiko Goto declares that he has no conflict of interest. Akira Ishikawa declares that he has no conflict of interest. Masahide Nishibori declares that he has no conflict of interest. Masaoki Tsudzuki declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Supplementary material

438_2018_1501_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 1480 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Center for Global AgromedicineObihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineObihiroJapan
  2. 2.Department of Life and Food SciencesObihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary MedicineObihiroJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of Biosphere ScienceHiroshima UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan
  4. 4.Japanese Avian Bioresource Project Research CenterHiroshima UniversityHigashi-HiroshimaJapan
  5. 5.Graduate School of Bioagricultural SciencesNagoya UniversityChikusa, NagoyaJapan

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