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Prof. PhD. Dr h. c. Stanisław Wężyk National Chamber of Poultry & Feed Producers


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Prof. PhD. Dr. h.c. Stanisław Wężyk

National Chamber of Poultry & Feed Producers

(Poland)
THE POULTRY GENE RESOURCES PRESERVATION PROGRAM IN POLAND – REASON AND AIMS
The history of animal breeding and its production is several thousand years old. In the 19th and 20th century the poultry sector followed the dynamic changes related to the development of a global economy. From the second half of 20th century a significant progress in the poultry production took place thanks to the implementation of scientific results of biology, various methods of intensive selection, and the studies on specialized populations of diverse poultry species. Genetic improvement of those populations in the 20th century was possible thanks to early discoveries of 19th century of hereditary traits of breeds existing at that time. Present activities on preservation of existing poultry genetic resources should supply scientific and productive needs. They should also make the continuation of breeding development possible in 21st century (Delany, 2003).
According to FAO, the genetic resources are the populations showing the highest genetics differentiation within species and/or with unique alleles or alleles combinations. After Delany and Pisenti (1998), Pisenti et al (1999) and Weigend and Romanov (2001) the poultry genetic resources include:


  1. experimental lines utilized for scientific purposes;

  2. commercial pedigree flocks and pure line under intensive selection on production trait and fast rate of growth;

  3. fancier and showy poultry flocks.


Biodiversity includes every form of life of all species and their genetic varieties as well as all their ecosystems (CAST, 1999). In poultry it refers to the preservation of genetic variation within and between species (hens, turkeys, quails, ducks, geese, and pheasants) and also between all worldwide breeds. Indigenous and local breeds and specialized populations of each poultry species used in the modern commercial production by smallholders and fancy breeders and in experimental farms play an important part in the development of mankind. Thanks to biological diversity, poultry could be widely utilized in the processes of food production’s modernization, in development of biotechnology, as well as in the theoretical and applied sciences that have a fundamental meaning for human and animal health. Undertaking a decision on preservation of genetics variation within and between specialized poultry population makes it necessary to collect the information about phenotype, production results, and molecular genetic variation of birds.

The fundamental aim of poultry gene resources preservation is the opportunity of utilizing genetic potential of each species and than the maintenance in vivo of these valuable collections (Notter, 1999).

Long-term preservation of genetic resources should consist:

Strategies used in genetic variation preservation are different but depend on specifications of particular poultry genetic resources and therefore there is no one research method for all poultry species and production types.

Poultry biodiversity should be kept in future for obtaining breeding and production progress and also for providing changes in time for the needs of consumers. Maintaining biodiversity of poultry enables not only taking advantage of evolutionary changes but also contributes to increased resistant to diseases and on detrimental environmental conditions. Current poultry genetic resources could be used in scientific research and to increasing profitability of poultry production in the future.

Capacity, preservation, and utilization of biodiversity is essential to the world economy and environment (O’Brien, 1994; CAST, 1999). Intensification of industry diminishes biodiversity (i.e. extermination of species, devastation and changes of ecosystems, and changes in animal’ behavior). Knowledge of molecular genetic variation appearing within and between populations could be properly used in the strategy of genetic diversity conservation.

The poultry production is very important because it provides:


  1. food for people (animal protein like meat and eggs);

  2. scientific model in research of biology on 9000 other birds species and human health;

  3. biological material for important pharmacological endeavors and researches (vaccine production, applications in biotechnology);

  4. satisfaction and joy (breeding of old, native, and fancy breeds).

The poultry biodiversity preservation has very little to do with wild bird protection. It requires the introduction of the programs of preservation and conservation still existing to nowadays genetic varieties; including:

  1. using the specialized populations to study over humans and animals;

  2. consolidation of the primary breeder companies;

  3. erosion of genetic potential resulted by intensive selection in commercial breeding stocks;

  4. using the native breeds well adapted to the local environmental conditions and kept in the small flocks; as well as distinguishing of traits which could be very valuable in the future.

The native poultry breeds are inseparably connected to the agriculture’s landscape, traditions, and the farmer’s culture and they are the testimony to the multi generation attainments of local breeders. Poultry production based on the local breeds may bring many advantages to the poor agricultural regions by delivering eggs and poultry meat production with unique taste and dietetic value to the market.
Conservation. The theory of genetic species conservation emphasizes their genetic structure and distribution of genetic variation within and between species with substantial evolutional sense.

According to Allendorf (1983) the poultry gene resources are located on two levels:



  1. genetic variation between individuals within population;

  2. genetic differences between populations.

The value and distribution of genetic variation in population is affected by:

  1. genetics drift

  2. mutation

  3. recombination

  4. migration

  5. selection


Preservation is often treated as a synonym of conservation. The main goal of preservation is the maintenance of species regardless of their population characteristics.

Therefore in poultry the preservation concerns different species and definite types kept in specific place. So far in preservation of valuable poultry genetics resources, the method of conservation in the liquid nitrogen did not find any usage (Wężyk et al., 1983a, 1983b).

Conservation more than preservation and cryopreservation focuses on the elaboration of long-term programs of maintenance in situ small and endangered breeds/strains including estimation of their particular genetics and phenotypic traits, differentiating them from others populations.

In the last decades as the results of strong intensification and globalization of poultry breeding and production, modernization of rearing systems, and preferences toward high effective commercial hybrids, the dramatic decreased of number of poultry breed and varieties accrued. No more than 10 years ago, out of 600 European hen breeds about 200 was endangered of extinction (Everson, 1998). Elimination of poultry population, well adapted to local conditions, contributes to loss of desirable traits such as (Kasznica at al.,1987; Brodacki at al., 1993; Zgłobica at al., 1965; Cywa-Benko, 2002):



  • low mortality

  • high resistance for diseases and bed environmental conditions

  • longevity and ability to high reproduction rate

  • instinct of broodiness.

The first works on preservation the old poultry breeds were undertaken in Great Britain in the early seventies of 20th century by the “Rare Breeds Survival Trust”. In short time similar organization were introduced in The Netherland, France and Bulgaria.

In Poland in 1972 the group of scientists under supervision of Professor Stanisław Wężyk (National Institute of Animal Production - NIoAP, Kraków) created the first in Poland conservation farm of hen stocks in Horticultural Farm in Szczytno, collecting 7 old, native breeds/strains of hens. At the same time Professor Adam Mazanowski (Central Laboratory for Poultry Science, Poznań) in Waterfowl Experimental Station Dworzyska gathered 12 native goose breeds and varieties and also a interesting international collection of 6 old breeds of ducks. After a stock analysis of all native breeds and varieties, and after estimation their genetic and production values (Wężyk and Różycka, 1969; Wężyk 1970,1975, 1977, 1984, 1989; Wężyk and Loedl, 1978; , Wężyk and Kasznica 1982; Mazanowski, 1986) both Wężyk and Mazanowski presented jointly elaborated programs of preservation the old native hen, goose and duck breeds and varieties.

Based on PCR method and using two starters number 1 and 8 (Table 1 and 2), the genetic similarity (GS) and genetic distances (GD) between old, native hen breeds were estimated (Table 1 and 2; Figure 1 and 2).
Table 1. Genetics similarity (GS) and genetic distances (GD) between native hen breeds using PCR methods and starter No 1 (Cywa-Benko, 2002)


GS



GD

Hen strains

Z11

G99

R11

H22

S66

Ż33

Z11




0.306

0.357

0.000

0.311

0.446

G99

0.514




0.310

0.339

0.302

0.375

R11

0.447

0.508




0.471

0.738

0.340

H22

1.000

0.470

0.327




0.456

1.000

S66

0.507

0.520

0.132

0.341




0.346

Ż33

0.351

0.426

0.398

1.000

0.461



Table 2. Genetics similarity (GS) and genetic distances (GD) between native hen breeds using PCR methods and starter No 2 (Cywa-Benko, 2002)




GS



GD

Hen strains

Z11

G99

R11

H22

S66

Ż33

Z11




0.337

0.476

0.259

0.428

0.301

G99

0.485




0.282

0.383

0.288

0.397

R11

0.322

0.550




0.000

0.794

0.108

H22

0.587

0.417

0.100




1.000

0.284

S66

0.368

0.540

0.100

1.000




0.110

Ż33

0.522

0.401

0.967

0.546

0.954



Presented in Table 1 and 2 genetic distances between investigated hen breeds/strains are consistent with draught as dendrite (Fig. 1 and 2). Established genetic differentiations in between particular strains motivate to embrace them in the program of the poultry genetic resource preservation (Cywa-Benko, 2002).



Fig. 1. Dendrite of genetic distances between Fig. 2. Dendrite of genetic distances between hen

hen breeds/strains – starter No 1 (Cywa-Benko, breeds/strain – starter No 8 (Cywa-Benko,2002)

2002)
To avoid the increase of undesirable level of inbreeding coefficient in protected populations for each breed/strain in the mating scheme the minimal number of males and females in each generation was fixed (Table 3, 4 and 5). The hen and duck flocks are divided in groups and according to the scheme of mating, in the definite time, males are exchanging between female groups. Obtained offspring is destined for the flock reproduction. In the hen and duck flocks the changing of generation takes place each year; however in geese flock it happens every 3 to 4 years.

According to the national law of animal breeding and reproduction (2007), the program of poultry gene resources preservation is applied by:


  1. breeder – owner of preserved flock;

  2. organizations running the herd book for each flock;

  3. organizations running the estimation of flock productivity (NIAP or National Poultry Board);

  4. NIAP – applying and coordinating activity in the sphere of poultry gene resources preservation program.

The effectiveness of poultry gene resources preservation program is estimated by the Working Group for Poultry Gene Resources Preservation (Calik and Krawczyk, 2006).

Table 3. Number of birds in protected hen flock participating in the poultry gene resources preservation program in Poland




Breed/strain

Lokalization

Number of birds included in program

1999

2007

2013

M

F

M

F

M

F

Greenleg Patridge Z11

Yellowleg Patridge Ż33

Rhode Island Red R11

Leghorn H22

Leghorn S99

Sussex S66

Rhode Island White A33

Rhode Island Red K22

Greenleg Patridge Zk

Polbar PB



IZ Chorzelów

IZ Chorzelów

IZ Chorzelów

IZ Chorzelów

IZ Chorzelów

IZ Chorzelów

IZ Duszniki

IZ Duszniki

Agr. Univ. Lublin

Agr. Univ. Lublin



55

55

55



55

55

55



55

55

55



55

550

550


550

550


550

550


550

550


550

550


62

62

62



62

62

62



136

141


80

87


602

602


602

602


602

602


660

693


598

600


100

100


85

85

85



85

85

85



100

100


1000

1000


850

850


850

850


850

850


1000

1000

Table 4. Number of birds in preserved goose flock participating in the waterfowl gene resources preservation program in Dworzyska (IZ-PIB, Poland)


Breed/strain

Symbol

Number of

Together

ganders

geese

Lubelska

Kielecka


Podkarpacka

Garbonosa

Kartuska

Rypińska


Suwalska

Pomorska


Romańska

Słowacka


Landes

Kubańska


Biłgorajska*

Zatorska**



Lu

Ki

Pd



Ga

Ka

Ry



Su

Po

Ro



LsD-01


Ku

Bi

ZD-1



42

53

52



55

45

52



54

55

57



63

63

80



45

82


142

148


145

154


135

145


156

150


163

193


181

289


172

222


194

201


197

209


180

197


210

205


220

256


244

369


217

304


Together

708

2395

3193

* in poultry farm Rutka; ** in Agricultural University Kraków
Table 5. Number of birds in preserved duck flock participating in the waterfowl gene resources preservation program in Dworzyska (IZ-PIB, Poland)


Breed/strain

Symbol

Number of

Together

drakes

ducks

Smaller Duck

Khaki Campbell x Orpington

English Peking

Danish Peking

French Peking

Old Polish Peking



K-2

Kh0-1


LsA

P-8


P-9

P-33


34

35

31



30

32

31



172

176


154

148


178

152


206

211


185

178


210

183


Together

193

980

1173

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