Effect of dietary aflatoxin concentration on the assessment of genetic variability of response in a randombred population of chickens

G. M. Lanza, K. W. Washburn, R. D. Wyatt, H. L. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The effect of graded levels of dietary aflatoxin on the assessment of genetic variability of body weight and gain and plasma protein response was tested utilizing the Athens-Canadian randombred population of chickens. Dietary aflatoxin was administered at levels of either 0, 1.25, 2.50 or 5.0 μg/g of diet ad libitum from 7 to 21 days of age to progeny from 58 sire families. Twenty-one-day body weights, gain and plasma protein concentration were used to assess the variation in response. The administration of increasing levels of aflatoxin resulted in a dose-related decrease of gains and plasma protein concentrations. Plasma protein concentrations were significantly higher among males than females within the control group; however, this difference was reversed as the severity of the aflatoxin challenge increased. Heritability estimates for all responses increased as the level of aflatoxin administered increased. This change was most notable for total plasma protein concentration. Phenotypic correlations for plasma protein concentration and growth measurements tended to diminish with increasing levels of aflatoxin. A similar trend was noted for the genetic correlations; however, a moderate correlation between growth responses and plasma protein response was detected in the 5.0 μg/g aflatoxin treatment group. Genetic correlations were calculated for the same characters between the different levels of aflatoxin. Regardless of which aflatoxin challenges were compared, a very high genetic correlation for 21-day body weight and 7- to 21-day gain was estimated. This variation in growth potential in the toxic environment paralleled that observed in the control environment but at a lower plane. Genetic correlations for plasma protein response across aflatoxin levels diminished as the difference between the levels of aflatoxin administered increased. Plasma protein concentration in the control environment was positively correlated with plasma protein response in groups fed a low level of aflatoxin, but negatively correlated when an aflatoxin challenge of 2.5 μg/g or more was given, suggesting that selection for aflatoxin resistance using plasma protein response as a selection criterion should be made under an aflatoxin stress environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983


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