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The use of epigenetics in poultry breeding

Code: 9781786767899
Johan Buyse, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Anne Collin and Vincent Coustham, INRAE, France; Elske de Haas, Utrecht University, The Netherlands; and Frédérique Pitel, INRAE, France

Chapter synopsis: Epigenetics is not a commonly used in the selection of parents to breed the next generations. That is surprising as epigenetics can influence gene function, is inherited via mitosis and/or meiosis and can occur both from the female and male lines. Epigenetics have been shown to affect gene-expression and can thereby play a strong role on the construction and plasticity of phenotypes in many plant and animal species, including poultry. In this chapter, we underline the key components in the poultry production chain where epigenetics can play a role. We highlight conditions influencing early-life programming by parental nutrition, thermal conditioning, and stressful events in the (grand)parents which are known to influence behaviour and welfare. We conclude that in the analysis of phenotypic variation one should consider both epigenetics and genetics, as epigenetics could explain a part - still to be estimated - of the variability of complex phenotypic traits.

DOI: 10.19103/AS.2020.0065.28
Table of contents 1 Introduction 2 Parental nutrition 3 Early-life programming through in ovo manipulation of nutrients 4 Thermal manipulation 5 Stress in parents and behaviour of offspring 6 Transgenerational non-genetic inheritance 7 Case study 1: (Grand)parent nutrition 8 Case study 2: Thermal manipulation 9 Summary and future trends in research 10 Acknowledgements 11 Where to look for further information 12 References

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