Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Dissection of the genetic architecture of body weight in chicken reveals the impact of epistasis on domestication traits

Le Rouzic, Arnaud; Alvarez-Castro, Jose M.; Carlborg, Oerjan


In this contribution, we study the genetic mechanisms leading to differences in the observed growth patterns of domesticated White Leghorn chickens and their wild ancestor the red jungle fowl. An epistatic QTL analysis for several body-weight measures from hatch to adulthood confirms earlier findings that polymorphisms at > 15 loci contribute to body-weight determination in an F(2) intercross between these populations and that many loci are involved in complex genetic interactions. Here, we use a new genetic model to decompose the genetic effects of this multilocus epistatic genetic network. The results show how the functional modeling of genetic effects provides new insights into how genetic interactions in a large set of loci jointly contribute to phenotypic expression. By exploring the functional effects of QTL allels, we show that some alleles can display temporal shifts in the expression of genetic effects due to their dependencies on the genetic background. Our results demonstrate that the effects of many genes are dependent on genetic interactions with other loci and how their involvement in the domestication process relies on these interactions.

Published in

2008, volume: 179, number: 3, pages: 1591-1599
Publisher: GENETICS

Authors' information

Le Rouzic, Arnaud
Uppsala University
Alvarez-Castro, Jose
Uppsala University
Carlborg, Örjan
Uppsala University

UKÄ Subject classification

Animal and Dairy Science
Veterinary Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)