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Issues arising from genetic selection for growth and body composition characteristics in poultry and pigs

  • G. C. Emmans (a1) and I. Kyriazakis (a1)


Breeders of poultry and pigs have selected for some combination of increased growth rate, decreased fatness and increased muscularity. Increasingly various fitness traits are included in the index used. The consequences of such selection include complex effects on nutritional and environmental requirements, at least some of which are reliably predictable using suitable models. Appropriate changes to the environment and to nutrition as selection proceeds will help to avoid unwanted effects occurring. Among the predictable effects are that higher ratios of nutrients to energy, and lower temperatures, will be needed by the improved genotypes. Selection for growth rate must eventually exhaust the capacity of the support systems – digestive, respiratory, circulatory and excretory – to cope with the increased metabolic rate. Selection for increased yield of valuable parts will cause these problems to occur earlier. While it is possible to predict that these problems will occur it cannot be predicted when they will. Breeders need to be aware of these problems, and use all possible routes to help them in reducing their severity. Where the appropriate actions for fitness selection, and nutritional and environmental modifications, are taken the occurrence of the problems will be delayed.



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Issues arising from genetic selection for growth and body composition characteristics in poultry and pigs

  • G. C. Emmans (a1) and I. Kyriazakis (a1)


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