The concept of residual food consumption (RFC) was first proposed by Byerly (1941) as an approach to limit food costs in the laying hen. The possibility to select on the fraction of total food intake which is not explained by maintenance requirements and production was, indeed, an appealing way to modify food efficiency without any change in production. This was first investigated in poultry, for the laying hen rather than for the broiler, and, later, in mammals. Extensive data have been obtained since 30 years on responses to selection on RFC in the laying hen, including metabolic studies, and, more recently, QTL detection. Sophisticated electronic devices are now available for larger farm animals, and genetic studies of RFC have been undertaken since 20 years in cattle, 10 years in pigs. Thus, this review will analyse the genetic components of food intake, as revealed by selection experiments on RFC in the laying hen, as well as more recent studies on RFC in beef cattle and pig. Furthermore, data are also available from mice selection experiments, with recent developments in QTL analysis.
Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 10, , 10.06, 2002
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