Effects of balanced selection for intramuscular fat and abdominal fat percentage and estimates of genetic parameters

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Intramuscular fat (IMF) content contributes to meat flavor and improves meat quality. Excessive abdominal fat, however, leads to a waste of feed resources. Here, an independent up-selection for IMF was used as a control (Line C), and a balanced selection program, with up-selection for IMF and down-selection AFP (Line B), was studied in JingXing yellow chickens. The mean of IMF and AFP within a family was the phenotypic value upon which selection was based. The selective pressures of IMF in line B and line C were the same in each generation. At G5, the IMF was significantly higher (P < 0.05) than that at G0 in both lines. For AFP, Line C was significantly higher at G5 (P < 0.05) than at G0, but the difference in Line B was not significant (P > 0.05). IMF increased by 11.4% and AFP decreased by 1.5% in Line B compared with the G0 generation. In contrast, the IMF increased by 17.6%, but was accompanied by an 18.7% increase in AFP, in control Line C. Of 10 other traits measured, body weight at 56 d age (BW56) and the percentages of eviscerated weight (EWP) showed a significant difference between the 2 lines (P < 0.05). The heritabilities for IMF and AFP, estimated by the DMU package, were 0.16 and 0.32, respectively. A moderate positive correlation existed between IMF and AFP (0.35). A balanced selection program for increasing IMF while controlling AFP (Line B) is shown here to be effective in practical chicken breeding.

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