Association of RUNX2 and TNFSF11 genes with production traits in a paternal broiler line
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Intense selection for production traits has improved the genetic gain of important economic traits. However, selection for performance and carcass traits has led to the onset of locomotors problems and decreasing bone strength in broilers. Thus, genes associated with bone integrity traits have become candidates for genetic studies in order to reduce the impact of bone disorders in broilers. This study investigated the association of the RUNX2 and TNFSF11 genes with 79 traits related to performance, carcass composition, organs, and bone integrity in a paternal broiler line. Analyses of genetic association between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and traits were carried out using the maximum likelihood procedures for mixed models. Genetic associations (P < 0.05) were found between SNP g.124,883A>G in the RUNX2 gene and chilled femur weight (additive plus dominance deviation effects within sex) and with performance traits (additive within sex and additive effects). The SNP g.14,862T>C in the TNFSF11 gene presented genetic associations (P < 0.05) with additive plus dominance deviation effects within sex for performance traits. Suggestive genetic associations (P < 0.10) were found with abdominal fat and its yield. Selection based on SNPs g.14,862T>C in TNFSF11 and g.124,883A>G in RUNX2 could be used to improve performance and carcass quality traits in the population studied, although SNP g.14,862T>C was not in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium because it was not undergoing a selection process. Furthermore, it is important to validate these markers in an unrelated population for use in the selection process.