The growth traits are important traits in chickens. Compared to white feather broiler breeds, Chinese local broiler breeds have a slow growth rate. The main genes affecting the growth traits of local chickens in China are still unclear and need to be further explored. This experiment used fast-growth and slow-growth groups of the Jinghai Yellow chicken as the research objects. Three males and three females with similar body weights were selected from the two groups at four weeks old and eight weeks old, respectively, with a total of 24 individuals selected. After slaughter, their chest muscles were taken for transcriptome sequencing. In the differentially expressed genes screening, all of the genes obtained were screened by fold change ≥ 2 and false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.05. For four-week-old chickens, a total of 172 differentially expressed genes were screened in males, where there were 68 upregulated genes and 104 downregulated genes in the fast-growth group when compared with the slow-growth group. A total of 31 differentially expressed genes were screened in females, where there were 11 upregulated genes and 20 downregulated genes in the fast-growth group when compared with the slow-growth group. For eight-week-old chickens, a total of 37 differentially expressed genes were screened in males. The fast-growth group had 28 upregulated genes and 9 downregulated genes when compared with the slow-growth group. A total of 44 differentially expressed genes were screened in females. The fast-growth group had 13 upregulated genes and 31 downregulated genes when compared with the slow-growth group. Through gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analysis, many genes were found to be related to cell proliferation and differentiation, muscle growth, and cell division such as SNCG
, etc. Real-time PCR results were consistent with the RNA-Seq data and validated the findings. The results of this study will help to understand the regulation mechanism of the growth and development of Jinghai Yellow chicken and provide a theoretical basis for improving the growth rate of Chinese local chicken breeds.
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