Indexed on: 16 Oct '04Published on: 16 Oct '04Published in: British poultry science
1. The effect of manipulating egg incubation temperature for short periods on turkey muscle development was determined using the M. semitendinosus, a thigh muscle, as the model. 2. Experiment 1. Eggs were incubated at a control temperature of 37.5 degrees C. For a 4-d period of 0 to 4, 5 to 8, 9 to 12, 13 to 16, 17 to 20 or 21 to 24 embryonic days (ED) eggs were transferred to either 38.5 or 35.5 degrees C. A regime of 38.5 degrees C at 5 to 8 and 9 to 12 ED caused an increased myonuclei number and muscle fibre number, respectively. 3. Experiment 2. Eggs were incubated at a control temperature of 37.5 degrees C. At 5 to 8 ED eggs were transferred to 38.5 or 35.5 degrees C. Temperature-manipulated embryos showed a delay in differentiation (myogenin expression) of the semitendinosus muscle compared to controls. 4. Manipulating the incubation temperature for 4 d in early incubation alters muscle development in the turkey with no observation of deformities or reduction in hatchability. We speculate that this increase in temperature may result in an improved muscle growth in the post-hatch bird.