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Behavioural and physiological fear responses in ducks: genetic cross effects

  • I. Arnaud (a1) (a2), S. Mignon-Grasteau (a1), C. Larzul (a3), G. Guy (a4), J.-M. Faure (a1) and D. Guémené (a1)...


Mule duck, a cross between a Muscovy drake and a Pekin female, is reported by the farmers to frequently express fear behaviours, such as man avoidance. The genetic basis of fear responses in mule ducks was therefore investigated in this study. According to a previous experiment, the dominant effect of Pekin genotype was hypothesised; however, due to the absence of birds from the reciprocal cross, a superiority of the Pekin in additive effect could not be distinguished from a direct maternal additive effect. In order to clarify this, ducks from the mule genotype, the two parental genotypes (Pekin and Muscovy) and the reciprocal intercross (hinny) underwent a set of physiological and individual behavioural tests of fear. Both parental genotypes were highly fearful but exhibited responses of different patterns: Pekin ducks manifested a higher locomotor activity, whereas the Muscovy ducks showed a higher avoidance to man. Hybrids expressed higher panic responses and specific fear of man than the two parent breeds. Both hybrids expressed similar patterns and the maternal effects were not significant. Significant heterosis effects were found for most of the behavioural responses, in agreement with the fact that higher fear responses were expressed by the hybrids compared to the parental genotypes. A significant heterosis effect was also found for basal adrenal activity; hybrids having higher basal level than parental genotypes. Maximum capacity of adrenal response appeared to be determined by direct additive effects with a superiority of the Pekin genotype.


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Behavioural and physiological fear responses in ducks: genetic cross effects

  • I. Arnaud (a1) (a2), S. Mignon-Grasteau (a1), C. Larzul (a3), G. Guy (a4), J.-M. Faure (a1) and D. Guémené (a1)...


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