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Leghorn lines had been selected for an immunocompetence index based on four traits: antibody production to Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) and Pasteurella multocida (PM) vaccines, reticuloendothelial clearance of colloidal carbon (CCA), and cell-mediated, wing web response to phytohemagglutinin (PHA). The purpose of this study was to produce replicated lines of chickens with divergent levels of multitrait immunocompetence by index selection. The objectives of analyses of Generations 5 to 7 of this study was to characterize these lines with respect to immune-response traits, correlations among these traits, and correlated responses in other important production traits.
Differences (P < .05) existed between the lines selected for high or low immune response and between the two replicates in mean breeding values and in individual immune-response traits. Averages of heritability estimates, weighted by number of offspring and pooled across three generations (two cycles of selection), estimated by using sire variance components and parent-offspring correlations were, respectively, .16 and .09 for the index, .31 and .08 for MG, .21 and −.02 for PM, .06 and .05 for CCA, and .08 and .12 for PHA. Realized heritabilities (response divided by effective selection differential) pooled across the two selection cycles, were .19 and .11 for the index, .06 and −.01 for MG, .44 and .32 for PM, 1.52 and −1.21 for CCA, and .48 and .15 for PHA, for Replicates 1 and 2, respectively. Phenotypic correlations among traits were generally small, and several estimates were negative. Estimates of genetic correlation varied widely. Juvenile and adult body weights, age of first egg, 32-wk egg weight, and rate of egg production were analyzed to evaluate effects of selection on these traits of direct economic importance. Very few differences were noted.
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Poultry Science Association Inc.
Kean, R. P.; Cahaner, A.; Freeman, A. E.; and Lamont, Susan J., "Direct and Correlated Responses to Multitrait, Divergent Selection for Immunocompetence" (1994). Animal Science Publications. 835.