Divergent selection for four-week body weight in Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica): response to selection and realized heritability

Document Type : Original Research Article (Regular Paper)


Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran


The Japanese quail has been utilized as a research species in establishing the genetic relationships that may also be present in other species. Divergent phenotypic selection for 4-wk BW was conducted for three generations in high (HW) and low (LW) lines. Within each line, 50 females and 25 males were selected among 600 birds, based on 4-wk BW. Mean BW at 4 wk of age in the base generation was 186.2 and 178.6 g for females and males, respectively. In the 3rd generation, the mean of 4-wk BW for male and female birds was 214.5 and 208.1 in HW line and 173.5 and 167.8 in LW lines, respectively. The realized heritability was estimated as 33.4% and 28.3% for females and males in HW lines and 20.3% and 20.2% for females and males in LW lines. The results suggested the effectiveness of phenotypic selection for body weight in Japanese quails, although the hatchability decreased in the heavier birds.