Scope for interspecies hybridization between chicken and quail

H. Khosravinia, H.N. Narasimha Murthy* and K. Prathap Kumar**
*AICRP On poultry breeding for meat ** Dept. of Poultry Science
Veterinary College, Hebbal, Bangalore -560024

Quail chicken hybrids are of interest as valuable research tools in cytological studies, understanding of evolutionary trends, transfer of genes from wild birds to domestic ones, establishing phylogenetic relationships, chromosome studies among two species, as genetic model to study the control of expression in soluble as well as membrane-bond proteins and finally in examination of chicken foetal antigen (CFA), quail foetal antigen (QFA) and several other enzyme systems. An attempt was made to study the possibility of obtaining fertile eggs and hybrid offspring from artificially inseminated female quails with chicken semen. Pooled neat semen (100-150 μL) from two males each pertaining to three chicken breeds (Chandigarh Dark Cornish, Red Cornish and White Plymouth Rock) was inseminated into 15 to 17 quail hens at 1 to 2 cm depth of oviduct using a micropipette. Insemination was repeated twice a week and two times per day (morning and evening) to be assured that no bird having an advanced egg in oviduct is inseminated. Quail hens were separated from males two weeks before insemination. It was not possible to obtain semen from the quail male, and therefore the cross was made in only one direction. Eggs were collected daily and set once a week in an incubator at 98-99 oF. Seven hybrids (1.74 per cent) hatched from 404 eggs set on the nineteenth day of incubation. Further examination of non hatched eggs showed 25.3 per cent fertility with 17.73, 1.81, 1.56 and 1.25 per cent very early dead (preincubation or first day), early dead (2-5 days), dead at 5-14 days and dead at 14-19 days, respectively. The hybrids obtained weighed 5.3-7.6 g with an average of 6.42 at hatch (1.28 g heavier than quail chicks from same hatch) and 23.5 g at 7 days (10 g heavier than quail chicks). The most remarkable feature of the present study was considerably greater fertility percent of the eggs obtained from quails inseminated with chicken semen likely due to insemination method as more neat semen, which used twice a week for each quail with utmost care at the time of insemination.

Source : IPSACON-2005

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