Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 539650
Title The genetic architecture of socially-affected traits : a GWAS for direct and indirect genetic effects on survival time in laying hens showing cannibalism
Author(s) Brinker, Tessa; Bijma, Piter; Vereijken, Addie; Ellen, Esther D.
Source Genetics, Selection, Evolution 50 (2018)1. - ISSN 0999-193X
Department(s) Animal Breeding and Genetics
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018

Background: Cannibalism is an important welfare problem in the layer industry. Cannibalism is a social behavior where individual survival is affected by direct genetic effects (DGE) and indirect genetic effects (IGE). Previous studies analysed repeated binomial survival, instead of survival time, which improved accuracies of breeding value predictions. Our study aimed at identifying SNPs associated with DGE and IGE for survival time, and comparing results from models that analyse survival time and repeated binomial survival. Methods: Survival data of three layer crosses (W1 * WA, W1 * WB, and W1 * WC) were used. Each individual had one survival time record and 13 monthly survival (0/1) records. Approximately 30,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were included in the genome-wide association study (GWAS), using a linear mixed model for survival time, a linear mixed model and a generalized linear mixed model for repeated binomial survival (0/1). Backwards elimination was used to determine phenotypic and genetic variance explained by SNPs. Results: The same quantitative trait loci were identified with all models. A SNP associated with DGE was found in cross W1 * WA, with an allele substitution effect of 22 days. This SNP explained 3% of the phenotypic variance, and 36% of the total genetic variance. Four SNPs associated with DGE were found in cross W1 * WB, with effects ranging from 16 to 35 days. These SNPs explained 1 to 6% of the phenotypic variance and 9 to 44% of the total genetic variance. Our results suggest a link of DGE and IGE for survival time in layers with the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system, since a SNP located near a gene for a GABA receptor was associated with DGE and with IGE (not significant). Conclusions: This is one of the first large studies investigating the genetic architecture of a socially-affected trait. The power to detect SNP associations was relatively low and thus we expect that many effects on DGE and IGE remained undetected. Yet, GWAS results revealed SNPs with large DGE and a link of DGE and IGE for survival time in layers with the GABAergic system, which supports existing evidence for the involvement of GABA in the development of abnormal behaviors.

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