The vast majority of turkey breeding, production and consumption is in the highly intensified production areas of North America and the Western European community. Selection for heavy muscling and compact conformation has resulted in highly efficient meat producing white plumaged, small, medium and large commercial types. The native turkey, Meleagris gallopavo still exists. With plumage color mutants and numerous selected strains, there is considerable variety of turkey germ plasm. Selection has brought about rapid changes in both morphology and size; and with these concurrent genetic and phenotypic changes has resulted in a lowered reproductive fitness. Photoperiod management, artificial insemination, nutrition and disease control have counteracted this genetic loss for a steadily increasing life cycle efficiency in the modern turkey.

T. K Mukherjee, R. N Shoffner, Y. Yamada

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume X. Breeding programs for swine, poultry, and fish., , 273–285, 1986
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