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Molecular genetics is providing the tool box of the 21st century for the modern poultry breeding company. These tools allow for rapid and accurate identification and selection at the gene level of those individuals with better performance traits. Genetic selection can be done before traits are expressed, molecular genetics testing can be applied to males for female limited traits, and it can be done on chicks shortly after hatch. They also allow for rapid diagnosis of genetic deficiencies and pathogen contamination, and allow excellent quality control and brand identification methods. This tool box will continue to improve as new methods and more rapid and less expensive methodologies are developed.
The poultry industry in Lebanon has developed since the 1950's and is expected to be worth $450 million by 2010. Annual egg production exceeds 600 million eggs whereas broiler meat production is over 130,000 t. Lebanese poultry producers are heavily reliant on imported feedstuffs. To evaluate the quality of feedstuffs used in poultry diets, the results of a recent survey are discussed. This was conducted to evaluate the grade, chemical composition, processing quality and aflatoxin concentration of imported corn and soybean meal in Lebanon. During a period of one year, samples of corn, 44% crude protein soybean meal (SBM 44), and 48% crude protein soybean meal (SBM 48) were collected from shipments delivered to four major feed mixing operations in Central Beqa'a, Lebanon. A sample of each of the feed ingredients was collected every week during a period of three months from each of the feedmills under investigation. Bushel weight, percent foreign seed or matter plus broken corn kernel, proximate analysis, and G1, G2, B1, and B2 aflatoxin concentration in the feed samples were measured. Urease activity in soybean meal was determined. Bushel weight and percentage foreign seed or matter plus broken kernels in imported corn grain were 25.9 kg and 22.1%, respectively. Moisture content in corn grain was 14.0% whereas crude protein, crude fat, crude fibre, and ash were 8.54, 3.52, 2.09, and 1.51% on dry matter basis, respectively. Moisture and crude protein levels in imported SBM 44 and SBM 48 were similar to that of their premium counterparts. Moreover, SBM 44 and SBM 48 had urease activity within the acceptable pH range and were free of G1, G2, B1, and B2. In contrast, 14% of commercial corn shipments were found to contain between 6 and 30 ppb B1 with no presence of G1, G2, and B2. It is recommended that poultry and animal feed importers in Lebanon re-evaluate their sources of corn grain and rehabilitate their feed storage facilities in order to preserve quality and reduce further contamination and/or mould growth.
Duck breeding in France is directed mainly towards ‘foie gras’ (duck fatty liver) production. Nowadays the roasted duck, produced from the pure Muscovy, is economically a less important industry. About 95% of foie gras production comes from force-fed mule duck, the remaining 5% being from the Muscovy duck. After an overview of the French economical and technical context of this production, the paper will focus on the genetic aspects of the mule duck, at the level of theoretical knowledge and considering practical applications for selection. As the mule duck is an infertile hybrid between a female common duck (Anas Platyrhynchos) and a Muscovy drake (Cairina moschata), selection approaches are carried out on both parental strains. But to implement selection, genetic parameters (heritability and genetic correlations) and cross-breeding parameters (direct and maternal additive genetic effects, heterosis effect) need to be known. Our review covers both the reproductive mule parental traits, either in pure strain or in cross-breeding, with main results on the dam side for laying, fertility and hatchability and also considers the mule productive traits, such as growth, feather colour, behaviour, feed efficiency, body composition, force-feeding ability and products quality. Genetic variability of mule duck traits can be established from estimates on either the dam's side, on the sire's side, or on both sides simultaneously. This review represents a comparison of fatty duck selection, which is operated by three major private French companies, with outlines of the breeding scheme specificity.
The chicken egg and foods containing egg components are an important part of human nutrition. Furthermore, eggs are a potential source of bioactive molecules and a potential delivery system for therapeutic proteins, explaining the continuing scientific interest in eggs and their components. Using mass spectrometry-based high-throughput proteomic techniques, 119 proteins in egg yolk, 78 proteins in egg white, and 528 proteins in the decalcified eggshell organic matrix have recently been identified. Most of these proteins were identified in their respective egg compartment for the first time. Some of these proteins were already known from chicken tissues or other egg compartments, but many were novel. In the eggshell soluble matrix 39 phosphoproteins containing more than 150 different phosphorylation sites were identified. Twenty-two of the identified phosphoproteins had not been recognized as phosphoproteins previously.
In 2004 the chicken genome sequence and more than 2.8 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were reported. This information greatly enhanced the ability of poultry scientists to understand chicken biology, especially with respect to identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) and genes that control simple and complex traits. To validate and address the quality of the reported SNPs, assays for 3072 SNPS were developed and used to genotype 2576 DNAs isolated from commercial and experimental birds. Over 90% of the SNPs were valid based on the criterion used for segregating, and over 88% had a minor allele frequency of 2% or greater. As the East Lansing (EL) and Wageningen University (WAU) reference panels were genotyped, 1933 SNPs were added to the chicken genetic map, which was used in the second chicken genome sequence assembly. It was also discovered that linkage disequilibrium varied considerably between commercial layers and broilers; with the latter having haplotype blocks averaging 10 to 50 kb in size. Finally, it was estimated that commercial lines have lost 70% or more of their genetic diversity, with the majority of allele loss attributable to the limited number of chicken breeds used.
Various forms of containerised gas killing systems have been used to slaughter large numbers of poultry on farms during outbreaks of notifiable diseases. However, none of the systems have been fully evaluated to assess bird welfare, operators’ health and safety and biosecurity during operation. In addition, standard operating procedures associated with containerised gas killing systems are lacking in the literature. Therefore, a research and development project was initiated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the UK with the primary objective being to develop humane systems for culling poultry on farm and to produce operating procedures based on sound scientific principles. A series of studies have been conducted to achieve the objective and relevant observations and operating procedures are reviewed in this paper.
A survey was conducted in two districts of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India, where the endangered Nicobari fowl can still be found. For this survey, a stratified multi-stage sampling design was adopted as per the proforma prepared by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, Karnal, India. The estimated population was found to be less than 8000. A total of 1256 respondents were selected randomly covering ninety villages spread over nine zones within two districts. Results of the study in respect of socio-economic status of the farmers, geographical and demographic distribution, physical characters, husbandry and feeding practices, housing, growth, production and reproduction performances under free-range/backyard system, egg and carcass quality traits, stress tolerance, incidence of diseases, mortality pattern and health maintenance programmes are highlighted. The results of earlier studies on this breed like performances under intensive management and molecular characterization are also reviewed.
Distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) is a by-product of the ethanol industry produced by dry mill ethanol plants. During the fermentation process starch from the grain is converted to ethanol and CO2, concentrating the remaining nutrients in DDGS by 2-3 times. In the European Union the favoured use of renewable energy sources has encouraged increased production of biofuels. The increase of bio-ethanol production has resulted in large quantities of DDGS entering the feed raw material market. Because of its high nutrient quality, related to the typically gentle drying and processing it receives, DDGS obtained from the modern ethanol industry may be used as a feed for monogastric animals with good results. The main problem in the use of DDGS for poultry is its high variability of nutrient content and availability.
Results from different laboratories on the use of DDGS as feed component for poultry are discussed in the article. Based on the results presented, DDGS obtained from the modern ethanol plants is an acceptable ingredient of poultry diets and can be safely fed at 5-8% in starter diets for broilers and turkey, and 12-15% in grower-finisher diets for broiler and turkey and diets for laying hens.