Sex impact on the quality of fatty liver and its genetic determinism in mule ducks.

TitleSex impact on the quality of fatty liver and its genetic determinism in mule ducks.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsMarie-Etancelin, C, Retailleau, B, Alinier, A, Vitezica, ZG
JournalJ Anim Sci
Date Published2015 Sep

Recent changes to French regulations now allow farmers to produce "foie gras" from both male and female mule ducks. The aim of this study was to assess the quality of female fatty liver and to compare, from a phenotypic and genetic point of view, liver quality in males and females. A total of 914 mule ducks (591 males and 323 females), hatched in a single pedigree batch, were reared until 86 d of age and then force-fed for 12 d, before being slaughtered. Carcasses and livers were weighed and liver quality was assessed by grading the extent of liver veining and measuring the liver melting rate, either after sterilization of 60 g of liver or pasteurization of 180 g of liver. Sexual dimorphism was observed in favor of males, with a difference of approximately 10% in carcass and liver weights and up to 54% for the liver melting rate. Moreover, one-third of female livers showed moderate to high veining, whereas this was not the case for male livers. The fatty livers of female mule ducks are, therefore, of poorer quality and could not be transformed into a product with the appellation "100% fatty liver." According to sex and parental line, heritability values ranged from 0.12 ± 0.05 to 0.18 ± 0.07 for fatty liver weight and from 0.09 ± 0.05 to 0.18 ± 0.05 for the 2 melting rate traits. The genetic correlations between the fatty liver weight and both melting rates were high (greater than +0.80) in the Muscovy population, whereas in the Pekin population, the liver weight and melting rates were less strongly correlated (estimates ranging from +0.36 ± 0.30 to +0.45 ± 0.28). Selection for lower liver melting rates without reducing the liver weight would, therefore, be easier to achieve in the Pekin population. Finally, as the 2 melting rate measurements are highly correlated (0.91 and over 0.95 for phenotypic and genetic correlations, respectively), we suggest using the easiest method, that is, sterilization of 60 g of liver.

Alternate JournalJ. Anim. Sci.
PubMed ID26440324