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Open AccessArticle

Sexual Dimorphism for Coping Styles Complements Traditional Methods for Sex Determination in a Multivariety Endangered Hen Breed

1
Department of Genetics, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Córdoba, 14071 Córdoba, Spain
2
Centro Agropecuario Provincial de Córdoba, Diputación Provincial de Córdoba, 14071 Córdoba, Spain
3
Animal Breeding Consulting, SL, 14014 Córdoba, Spain
4
Instituto de Investigación y Formación Agraria y Pesquera (IFAPA), Alameda del Obispo, 14004 Córdoba, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121165
Received: 22 November 2019 / Revised: 10 December 2019 / Accepted: 11 December 2019 / Published: 17 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Morpho-Functional and Genetic Characterization of Local Breeds)
Early determination of sex of poultry specimens plays a major role in the design and implementation of conservation programs for endangered avian species. This information can be used to tailor noninvasive early specific models to determine sex, fitting the characteristics of local poultry populations, as traditional methods may not be effective given the implicit diversity of local breeds and their varieties or strains. The English method, down feather coloration, wing fan, and behavior/coping styles displayed by the individuals can be used to accurately sort animals according to their sex, regardless of the variety of the individuals.
Sex determination is key to designing endangered poultry population conservation and breeding programs when sex distribution departs from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium. A total of 112 Utrerana chickens (28 per variety, partridge, black, white, and franciscan) were selected for hatching day sexing. Sex assignation was performed through 10 methods. Three sex assignment criteria comprised criteria found in literature, opposite criteria to that in the literature, and composite criteria combining methods reporting the highest predictive success from the previous ones. This study aims to determine which method combinations may more successfully determine sex across the four varieties of Utrerana endangered hen breed to tailor noninvasive early specific models to determine sex in local chicken populations. Although the explanatory power of the three assignation criteria is equal (75%), assignation criteria 2 resulted to be the most efficient as it correctly assigns males more frequently. Only methods 3 (English method), 5 (general down feathers coloration), 7 (wing fan), and 10 (behavior/coping styles) reported significant differences regardless of the variety, hence, are appropriate for early sexing. Sex confirmation was performed at 1.5 months old. Identifying sex proportions enhances genetic management tasks in endangered populations, complementing more standardized techniques, which may result inefficient given the implicit diversity found in local populations. View Full-Text
Keywords: morphometric measurements; behavior; preincubation; postincubation; sexing tests; autochthonous breed morphometric measurements; behavior; preincubation; postincubation; sexing tests; autochthonous breed
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Iglesias Pastrana, C.; Navas González, F.J.; Marín Navas, C.; Arando Arbulu, A.; González Ariza, A.; León Jurado, J.M.; Pizarro Inostroza, M.G.; Camacho Vallejo, M.E. Sexual Dimorphism for Coping Styles Complements Traditional Methods for Sex Determination in a Multivariety Endangered Hen Breed. Animals 2019, 9, 1165.

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