Selection strategies for body weight and reduced ascites susceptibility in broilers

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Ascites syndrome is a metabolic disorder in broilers. Mortality due to ascites results in significant economic losses and has a negative impact on animal welfare. It has been shown that genetic factors play a considerable role in susceptibility of birds to ascites, which offers perspectives for selection against this syndrome. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the consequences of alternative selection strategies for BW and resistance to ascites syndrome using deterministic simulation. In addition to the consequences of current selection (i.e., selection for increased BW only) alternative selection strategies including information on different ascites-related traits measured under normal or cold conditions and the consequences of having information on the underlying genes (i.e., MAS) were quantified. Five different breeding schemes were compared based on the selection response for BW, ascites susceptibility, and the rate of inbreeding. Traits investigated in the index as indicators for ascites were hematocrit value (HCT) and ratio of right ventricle to the total ventricular weight of the heart (RV:TV). The results indicated that by ignoring ascites susceptibility in the breeding goal, the gain for BW is 130 g and the birds will become more susceptible to ascites. Testing 50% of the birds under cold temperature conditions and including information of ascites related traits (HCT and RV:TV) measured under normal and cold conditions makes it possible to achieve a relatively high gain for BW (111.4 g) while controlling the genetic level for ascites susceptibility (selection response was 0). The results of scenarios including QTL information of ascites susceptibility showed that QTL information could be used very effectively in controlling ascites susceptibility
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-535
JournalPoultry Science
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • pulmonary-hypertension
  • asymptotic rates
  • poor ventilation
  • low-temperatures
  • populations
  • prediction
  • variability
  • parameters
  • chickens
  • traits


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