Identification of quantitative trait loci for shank length and growth at different development stages in chicken

Y. Gao, Z. Q. Du, C. G. Feng, X. M. Deng, N. Li, Y. Da, X. X. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Shank length affects chicken leg health and longer shanks are a source of leg problems in heavy-bodied chickens. Identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting shank length traits may be of value to genetic improvement of these traits in chickens. A genome scan was conducted on 238 F2 chickens from a reciprocal cross between the Silky Fowl and the White Plymouth Rock breeds using 125 microsatellite markers to detect static and developmental QTL affecting weekly shank length and growth (from 1 to 12 weeks) in chickens. Static QTL affected shank length from birth to time t, while developmental QTL affected shank growth from time t-1 to time t. Seven static QTL on six chromosomes (GGA2, GGA3, GGA4, GGA7, GGA9 and GGA23) were detected at ages of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 12 weeks, and six developmental QTL on five chromosomes (GGA1, GGA2, GGA4, GGA5 and GGA23) were detected for five shank growth periods, weeks 2-3, 4-5, 5-6, 10-11 and 11-12. A static QTL and a developmental QTL (SQSL1 and DQSL2) were identified at GGA2 (between ADL0190 and ADL0152). SQSL1 explained 2.87-5.30% of the phenotypic variation in shank length from 3 to 7 weeks. DQSL2 explained 2.70% of the phenotypic variance of shank growth between 2 and 3 weeks. Two static and two developmental QTL were involved chromosome 4 and chromosome 23. Two chromosomes (GGA7 and GGA9) had static QTL but no developmental QTL and another two chromosomes (GGA1 and GGA5) had developmental QTL but no static QTL. The results of this study show that shank length and shank growth at different developmental stages involve different QTL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-104
Number of pages4
JournalAnimal Genetics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Chicken
  • Genome scan
  • QTL
  • Shank growth
  • Shank length


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