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We reasoned that any phenotypes shared between the Moon Dragonfly Hello Darkness My Old Friend Shirt two lines and distinct from broilers would more closely reflect common features of leanness per se, rather than unique genetic effects. Fayoumi and Leghorn were also selected because they are the parental lines along with a commercial broiler line of an advanced intercross population that could be used for systems genetics studies of fatness in chicken. Phenotypic selection for elevated plasma levels or low plasma glucose levels yields birds with increased fatness.
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How adipose tissue metabolism contributes to differential fatness in chickens is unknown; most studies of fat and lean chicken lines have focused on liver due to its role as the primary lipogenic tissue in avians. In vitro, supplementing the media of primary chicken preadipocytes with fatty acids can induce adipogenic differentiation in the absence of the conventional adipogenic factors used in rodents, suggesting that adipocyte lipid metabolism is tied to adipose development. Loss of insulin action had modest effects on adipose metabolism, consistent with insulin resistance in chicken adipose tissue.
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An acute period of domestic chickens provide an abundant and relatively inexpensive source of dietary protein in the form of both meat and eggs and are an important food animal worldwide. As a model organism, the chicken has been widely used for studies of developmental biology and immune function. Microarray data indicate significant differences in the process of adipogenesis in Leghorn compared with both Fayoumi and broilers. Likewise, lines selected for differences in fatness have divergent and glucose levels.
Leghorns were the breed used for selection for commercial white egg production, a process with high demands on energy allocation and calcium utilization. It is therefore intriguing to speculate that selection for egg production included enrichment for alleles that inhibit adipogenesis in favor of processes related to bone formation, although we have no data on which to Moon Dragonfly Hello Darkness My Old Friend Shirt base this hypothesis. Leghorns may, therefore, be a relevant model in which to identify endogenous factors that reciprocally regulate.