A comparison of skeletal muscle fibre growth in broiler and layer chickens

Vicky E Cooke*, Sally Gilpin, Michael Mahon, DA Sandercock, MA Mitchell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Genetic selection for production traits such as growth rate, slaughter weight and feed conversion efficiency has been extremely successful in poultry. However, in broiler chickens and turkeys these improvements in productive performance may be associated with some detrimental effects upon skeletal muscle including an increased incidence of spontaneous and stress induced myopathies (Mitchell, 1999). It has been reported that rapidly growing broiler birds have larger diameter muscle fibres than layer type birds at the same age and that the faster growing birds have relatively increasing numbers of type II ‘‘white’’ fibres (Aberle and Stewart, 1983). This inter-breed comparison was restricted to the sartorius muscle only. More recent studies have suggested that increased muscle fibre diameter in birds selected for rapid growth rate is associated with increased incidence of myopathology and that the oxidative capacity of specific muscles is reduced in broiler birds, as indicated by a predominance of glycolytic type IIb fibres (Soike and Bergmann, 1998). The aim of the present study was to compare the growth of skeletal muscles (including those of commercial importance) of differing fibre type composition in a commercial broiler and a layer strain at a range of ages so as to inform further on-going studies relating muscle fibre type and muscle morphometry to myopathology in lines selected primarily for high growth rate and body conformation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPrint publication - 2003
Externally publishedYes
Event2003 Spring Meeting of the WPSA UK - York, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Mar 200326 Mar 2003


Conference2003 Spring Meeting of the WPSA UK
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Broiler chicken
  • Layer chicken
  • Skeletal muscle
  • Muscle fibre growth
  • Minimum fibre diameter
  • Histology
  • Pectoralis major
  • Biceps femoris
  • Glycolytic type IIb fibres
  • Oxidative type I fibres
  • Hypertrophy
  • Myopathy


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