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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Quantitative trait loci affecting eggshell traits in an F(2) population

Tuiskula-Haavisto, M.; Honkatukia, M.; Preisinger, R.; Schmutz, M.; de Koning, D. J.; Wei, W. H.; Vilkki, J.


Good eggshell quality is important for both table egg quality and chicken reproductive performance. Weak eggshells cause economic losses in all production steps. Poor eggshell quality also poses increased risk for Salmonella infections. Eggshell quality has been a difficult trait to improve by traditional breeding, as it can be measured only for females and it is difficult and expensive to measure. Breeding for improved shell quality may therefore benefit from the use of marker-assisted selection. In an effort to find markers linked to eggshell quality, we have used an F-2 population of 668 females to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting eggshell traits (eggshell deformation, breaking force, weight). By using 160 microsatellite markers on 27 chromosomes, we found 11 genome-wide and 15 suggestive QTL for shell traits measured at different times during production. Loci affecting the deformation were found on chromosomes 1, 2, 6, 10, 14 and Z. Loci affecting the breaking force were detected on chromosomes 2, 3, 10, 12 and Z. Loci affecting the shell weight were detected on chromosomes 6, 12, 24 and Z. Each QTL explains between 1.5% and 4.6% of the phenotypic variance, adding up to 10-15% of total phenotypic variance explained for the different traits. No epistatic effects were observed between loci affecting eggshell traits. Because the effects for quality are mainly additive, these results provide a basis for further characterization of the loci to identify closely linked markers to be used in marker-assisted selection.


chicken; eggshell quality; quantitative trait locus

Published in

Animal Genetics
2011, volume: 42, number: 3, pages: 293-299

Authors' information

Tuiskula-Haavisto, Maria
Agrifood Research Finland (MTT)
Honkatukia, Mervi
Agrifood Research Finland (MTT)
Preisinger, Rudolf
Schmutz, Matthias
Lohmann Tierzucht GmbH
De Koning, Dirk Jan (De Koning, Dirk-Jan)
University of Edinburgh
Wei, Wenhua
Medical Research Council (MRC)
Vilkki, Johanna
Agrifood Research Finland (MTT)

UKÄ Subject classification

Veterinary Science
Animal and Dairy Science

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