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Impact Statement: 'Finding a method to alter sex ratios of commercial chicks'

Statement Details

Brief Title
Ratios of commercial chicks

Title
Finding a method to alter sex ratios of commercial chicks

Author
Navara, Kristen

Year
2017

Geographic Scope
County

County
Clarke

Unit/Department/Group
Poultry Science

Summary
We are searching for gene targets that would allow us to purposefully alter the sexes of chicks hatched in the poultry industry.

Situation
Currently, over 200 million chicks are killed in commercial poultry industries annually because they are the "wrong" sex. If we could find a method to skew the sexes of chicks towards the preferred sex, this would save millions of dollars for the industry and reduce associated welfare concerns.

Response
We have found that treatment with two hormones, testosterone and corticosterone, effectively skews the sex ratios of chicks towards males (up to 80% male chicks). However, hormone treatments are prohibited by the FDA. Thus, through proposed work funded by the National Science Foundation, we are currently working to identify gene targets involved in the process to produce a non-hormone method to alter avian sex ratios.

Impact
In the near future, this would could have a significant economic impact within the poultry industry.

State Issue
Animal Production

Program Function(s)

  • Research
  • Instruction

Program Area(s)

  • Agriculture & Natural Resources

Topic(s)

  • Poultry

Keyword(s)

  • Broilers
  • Breeders

Funding Source(s)

  • Hatch Act Funds
  • Federal Grants

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)

(None)

Non-CAES Collaborator(s)
  • Mary T. Mendonca, Auburn University