Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Animal and Nutritional Sciences

Committee Chair

Robert A. Dailey.


This study documents effects of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) on reproductive traits in a flock of Cobb X Cobb broiler breeder hens. The objective was to determine if the MHC affects reproduction of non-congenic broiler breeder hens. Genomic DNA was isolated from 35 hens. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis was performed on each sample, using a chicken class II MHC probe (Xu et al. 1989). Restriction endonuclease digestion using PvuII resulted in polymorphisms in all birds. Five polymorphic bands were identified. The largest bands, 7.5 kb and 5.4 kb, were present in one and four hens respectively. The 4.25 kb and 3.4 kb bands were present in 34 and 35 of the hens. The fifth band, 2.4 kb, was observed in only 13 of the animals. Five putative genotypes were observed, based on the combination of RFLP pattern observed. The two most frequent putative genotypes differed only in the absence (A, n = 17) or presence (B; n = 13) of the fifth band. Egg production records for these two groups were subjected to statistical analyses. Total eggs produced and number of eggs produced during a 45-week fertility study were both significantly higher for hens with genotype A. Hens with genotype B had longer pauses between ovipositions. This study provides evidence, in a non-congenic population of broiler breeder hens, that there are associations of egg production with the MHC.