The impact of long-term genetic selection and nutritional improvement on the morphology and function of the support tissues in the broiler chicken
Metabolic disorders such as ascites or pulmonary hypertension syndrome (PHS), sudden death syndrome, tibial dyschondroplasia and malabsorption syndrome can manifest in the broiler chick as it approaches its target body weight. The objective of the research presented was to determine the effects of genetic selection and nutritional improvements on morphological and functional aspects of the metabolic systems by comparing the modern-day broiler with its ancestral genetic strain. Much research has been done on the aetiology of the ascites syndrome and other metabolic disorders that compromise the health of the modern broiler. In comparison, limited research has been done which explores the relationship within support tissues and between demand and support tissues in healthy populations of selected and unselected genotypes. Quantification of the morphological aspects of selected and unselected traits and subsequently exploring if these aspects are related to the function of unselected traits is the central purpose of these studies. Research has speculated that function is intimately correlated with morphology and form and as such, it is of relevance in the light of the prevalence of metabolic disorders, to determine if genetic selection for support organs mass/size is feasible. Understanding the impact of artificial selection on support organ morphology may prove to be a positive step towards reducing the incidence of metabolically related problems and circumventing them in the future, by potentially integrating these unselected traits into the genetic selection program.