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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Genetics and adaptation : situation in poultry

INRA Prod. Anim., 15(5), 357-364.

S. MIGNON-GRASTEAU, J.-M. FAURE

INRA, Station de Recherches Avicoles, 37380 Nouzilly

Abstract 

Numerous studies have been conducted on bird’s adaptability, which has been modified by domestication and artificial selection. Those studies include between lines comparisons, genetic parameters estimations and selection experiments. These studies deal with many different behaviours, as sexual or social behaviour, feeding or stress susceptibility. These behaviours are linked to the adaptability of animals and are generally heritable, and thus susceptible to be modified by selection. Many selection experiments have confirmed this theoretical possibility, but their aim has changed with the context of poultry production. The first goal of these experiments was to adapt the animal to a given environment, e.g. by decreasing the frequency of stereotypic behaviour in laying hens in cages. However, with the diversification of poultry production, the best animal is not anymore adapted to a given environment, but rather the animal which is adaptable to a wide range of environments. The most recent studies thus deal with more general traits, such as social motivation, low fear reactions or the absence of abnormal behaviours as feather pecking.

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