|Title||Offspring sex ratio bias and sex related characteristics of eggs in chicken|
|Source||Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Mari Smits; T.G.G. Groothuis, co-promotor(en): Henri Woelders. - Wageningen : Wageningen University - ISBN 9789462570757 - 192|
Animal Breeding and Genomics
Animal Breeding & Genomics
|Publication type||Dissertation, internally prepared|
|Keyword(s)||kippen - eieren - geslachtsverhouding - karakteristieken - nageslacht - toewijzing - polymerase-kettingreactie - hormonen - voedselbeperking - dierveredeling - fowls - eggs - sex ratio - characteristics - progeny - allocation - polymerase chain reaction - hormones - food restriction - animal breeding|
|Categories||Poultry / Animal Breeding and Genetics (General)|
Understanding the factors influencing sex of egg and sex ratio in laying chicken may lead to finding potential solutions for the problem of killing of day old male chicks, which is the current practice in breeding of laying hens. In studies described in this thesis, it was investigated if the sex of the chicken egg can be predicted by measurable differences in male and female eggs at unincubated stage and if the female primary sex ratio can be induced in laying chicken using different experimental conditions such as feed restriction and corticosterone feeding. The method of sex determination in unincubated chicken eggs using PCR targeted to CHD1 gene was first developed. This method was subsequently used to study the primary sex ratio bias as well as relationship between egg sex and yolk hormones. No significant relationship of the sex of egg with concentrations of several hormones (testosterone, estradiol, androstenedione, progesterone, dihydrotestosterone) and glucose in yolk as well as of egg parameters (mass, width and length) was found. Effect of feed availability on sex ratio was tested in two separate studies. In one study, the rate of change of hen body mass between day of laying and day of laying minus 2 days (encompass time of meiosis completion) was a significant predictor for the sex of that egg, suggesting meiotic drive as mechanism of sex ratio bias. This relationship was not found in the later study. The difference in results could be due to the reason that hens decreased in body mass much less in the later study as compared to earlier study. Blood corticosterone concentrations were associated with sex ratio per hen in the earlier study. Effect of egg mass on egg sex was studied during the later experiment of feed restriction. The egg sex ratio per hen was negatively associated with the average egg mass per hen in the feed restriction group. Two groups of hens were selected from the feed restriction group i.e. male biased hens with low egg mass and female biased hens with high egg mass for microarray analysis of gene expression in the germinal disc of collected F1 follicle. The results did not show differential expression of genes between the groups. However, gene set enrichment analysis showed that a number of processes related to cell cycle progression, mitotic/meiotic apparatus and chromosomal movement were differently enriched between the groups, supporting meiotic drive as potential mechanisms underlying sex ratio determination. In another experiment, blood circulating levels of corticosterone in hens were increased by feeding corticosterone mixed feed under ad libitum. The blood levels of corticosterone were significantly higher in treated hens but these levels were not associated with sex ratio. Treatment did not affect the overall sex ratio, but affected the sex ratio in interaction with hen body mass. In the corticosterone group, sex ratio, laying rate, and fertility rate per hen were decreased in heavy hens. These results suggest that three parameters (sex ratio, laying rate and fertility rate) are connected at the level of ovarian physiology. Interference with meiosis have been shown to affect these three parameters, suggesting the involvement of meiotic drive as mechanism of sex ratio bias.