Breeding And Genetics

Genetic differences between and within breeds and strains are the basis for artificial selection in geese.[5] In commercial crossing, dam strains are selected for reproductive efficiency and sire strains for meat traits. Geese species are less variable compared to other poultry species. Long-term selection strategies including family selection and progeny testing systems are used. Heterosis (vigor induced by crossbreeding) for most traits was found to head in an undesirable direction; therefore it is necessary to test for heterosis effects in crossbreeding geese strains. However, one can take advantage of other crossbreeding effects such as maternal or sex-linked gene traits. An average annual increase in egg production of almost one egg, average annual improvements of 1% in fertility, and an increase of one-day-old gosling per year were reported as the result of 15-year selection in Hungarian Upgraded and Gray Landaise geese.[6]

An important feature in a number of goose breeds and synthetic lines is the possibility of autosexing in day-old purebred goslings based on phenotypic differences in their down color. Producing the color-sexing crosses of geese is a unique way to utilize sex-linked genes and to concurrently acquire maternal or sex-linked gene traits in the crossbred progeny during intensive production.

The goose genome is much less studied than the chicken genome. Implementation of novel DNA research approaches has begun in domestic and wild geese. Other promising prospects would open with successful quantitative trait loci detection and implementation of marker-assisted selection. Progress in and results from other avian species (especially chicken) would be helpful to compensate for the present deficiency of specific markers and other molecular tools in geese.[5]

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