Cytogenetic Screening of Different Breeds of Rabbit for Growth Potentials in a Warm Humid Tropical Environment.


The study was carried out to determine the x-chromatin status of different breeds of rabbit and their crosses. The genotypes were Newzealand (NZW) x Newzealand (NZW), Dutch Black (DTB) x Dutch Black (DTB), (NZW) x DTB, and DTB x NZW. One hundred and sixty-nine offsprings from the mating were screened. Blood samples were collected with heparin sample bottles fortified with EDTA anti-coagulant via the ear veins and blood smears were made on clean glass slides. They were stained with Geimsa, rinsed in distilled water and air dried.

With the aid of microscope, 200 polymorphonuclear neutrophils were examined for the presence of drumstick appendages. The result revealed that the females had the average x-chromatin status of 2.09%, 2.00%, 2.28% and 2.07% for NZW x NZW, DTB x DTB, NZW x DTB and DTB x NZW genotypes respectively while the males had the average x-chromatin status of 0.00%, 0.05% 0.00% and 0.00% for NZW x NZW, DTB x DTB, NZW x DTB and DTB x NZW genotypes respectively. These values were within the normal range of 2.00 – 12.00% for females and 0.00% – 2.00% for males.

It was concluded that these animals were free from x-chromatin related physiogenetic problems. The body weight measurement of the rabbits at 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age showed significant differences at (p<0.05) across the genotypes. The linear body measurements of males and female rabbits at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age showed significant differences at (p<0.05) across the genotypes. 


The total world production of rabbit was estimated to range from 1,311,000 to 1,516,000 tonnes for the top 22 producer countries. From this figure, Italy had 300,000 tonnes, Russia 250,000 tonnes, France 150,000 tonnes, China 120,000 tonnes, Spain 100,000 tonnes, Indonesia 50,000 tonnes, Nigeria 50,000, tonnes, United States 35,000 tonnes and Germany 30,000 tonnes (WRP, 1990). Rabbits are basically reared for meat, fur and cool production (TNAU, 2008).

Rabbit production is very essential in improving animal protein intake in developing countries. This is because rabbit is very prolific as determined by the number of kits born alive at kindling and birth to weaning viability (Orunmuyi et al., 2006). Alleviation of poverty, attainment of food security and provision of adequate nutrition are some of the millennium development goals that Nigeria has to meet. Rabbit farming can be one effective objective that can be used not only in Nigeria but also in other Africa countries (Cliford, 2009).

Advantages of rabbit farming are enormous considering the fact that they can be fed with high forage, low grain diet that is largely non-competitive with human food and they have high feed conversion efficiency. Rabbits have the potential to being in constant state of reproduction and can be mated within 24 hours of kindling. They have high growth rate attaining market weight of about 2kg at 12 weeks of age. Rabbit meat is a highly nutritious, tasty and excellent in quality.

It is rich is protein, low in fat, cholesterol and sodium and thus can be recommended for cardiac patients (TNAU, 2008). Cliford (2009) also summarized in Africa Rural Connect that Rabbits are prolific in reproduction, have high growth rate and therefore high turnover, required minimal space to keep and meager resources to maintain since they can flourish on forages that are disdained by humans. The feeding habit of rabbit offers no appreciable competition with man. This is because it can subsist on green as basal diets.  


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StudentsandScholarship Team.

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