Reducing the interval of a growth QTL on chromosome 4 in laying hens
In our previous research, we identified a QTL with an interval of 3.4 Mb for growth on chicken chromosome (GGA) 4 in an advanced intercross population of an initial cross between the New Hampshire inbred line (NHI) and the White Leghorn inbred line (WL77). In the current study, an association analysis was performed in a population of purebred white layers (WLA) with White Leghorn origin. Genotypic data of 130 SNPs within the previously identified 3.4‐Mb region were obtained using a 60K SNP chip. In total, 24 significant SNPs (LOD ≥ 4.44) on GGA4 were detected for daily weigh gain from 8 to 14 weeks and two SNPs (LOD ≥ 4.80) for body weight at 14 weeks. The QTL interval was reduced by 1.9 Mb to an interval of 1.5 Mb (74.6–76.1 Mb) that harbors 15 genes. Furthermore, to identify additional loci for chicken growth, a genome‐wide association study (GWAS) was carried out in a WLA population. The GWAS identified an additional QTL on GGA6 for body weight at six weeks (19.8–21.2 Mb). Our findings showed that by using a WLA population we were able to further reduce the QTL confidence interval previously detected using a NHI × WL77 advanced intercross population.