Prof. Avigdor Cahaner


Research Interest

Quantitative genetics; theoretical and practical aspects of genotype-by-environment (GxE) interactions in meat-type chickens (broilers); breeding for sustainability by improving adaptation of broilers to sub-optimal conditions through genetic manipulation of metabolic, physiological and immunological functions; utilization of DNA markers in quantitative genetics studies and in practical breeding.


quantitative genetics; genotype-by-environment interaction(GxE); chickens; broilers; breeding; DNA markers; heat tolerance; ascites; immune response; fat deposition; water consumption; feed efficiency




See also: Avigdor_Cahaner


Selected Publications


  • Dawud I.,G. Goshu, W. Esatu, and A. Cahaner, 2019. Dual-purpose production of genetically different chicken crossbreeds in Ethiopia. 2. Egg and meat production of the final-crossbreed females and males. Poult. Sci. 98: 3405–3417. DOI: 10.3382/ps/pez137
  • Dawud I.,G. Goshu, W. Esatu, and A. Cahaner, 2019. Dual-purpose production of genetically different chicken crossbreeds in Ethiopia. 1. Parent stocks’ feed intake, body weight, and reproductive performance. Poult. Sci. 98: 3119–3129.  DOI: 10.3382/ps/pez136
  • Simon, Y., B. Levavi-Sivan, A. Cahaner, G. Hulata, A. Antler, L. Rozenfeld, and I. Halachmi. 2017.  A behavioural sensor for fish stress. Aquacultural Engineering, 77: 107–111. DOI: 10.1016/j.aquaeng.2017.04.001
  • Yair R., A. Cahaner, Z. Uni, and R. Shahar. 2017. Maternal and genetic effects on broiler bone properties during incubation period. Poult. Sci. 96: 2301-2311.  DOI: 10.3382/ps/pex021
  • Hadad Y., A. Cahaner, and O. Halevy. 2014. Featherless and feathered broilers under control versus hot conditions. 2. Breast muscle development and growth in pre- and post-hatch periods. Poult. Sci. 93:1076-1087. DOI: 10.3382/ps.2013-03592
  • Hadad Y., O. Halevy and A. Cahaner. 2014. Featherless and feathered broilers under control versus hot conditions. 1. Breast meat yield and quality. Poult. Sci. 93:1067-1075.  DOI: 10.3382/ps.2013-03591
  • Wells, K., Y. Hadad, D. Ben-Avraham, J. Hillel, A. Cahaner, D. J. Headon. 2012. Genome-wide SNP scan of pooled DNA reveals nonsense mutation in FGF20 in the Scaleless line of featherless chickens. BMC Genomics 13:257.
  • Azoulay, Y., S. Druyan, L. Yadgary, Y. Hadad, and A. Cahaner. 2011. The viability and performance at hot conditions of featherless broilers vs. fully-feathered broilers. Poult. Sci. 90:19-29.
  • Yadgary, L., A. Cahaner, O. Kedar, and Z. Uni. 2010. Yolk sac nutrient composition and fat uptake in late-term embryos in eggs from young and old broiler breeder hens. Poult. Sci. 89:2441-2452.
  • Ozkan, S., C. Takma, S. Yahav, B. Sogut, L. Turkmut, H. Erturun, and A. Cahaner. 2010. The effects of feed restriction and ambient temperature on growth and ascites mortality of broilers reared at high altitude. Poult. Sci. 89:974-985.
  • Druyan, S., D. Shinder, A. Shlosberg, A. Cahaner, and S. Yahav. 2009. Physiological parameters in broiler lines divergently selected for the incidence of ascites. Poult. Sci. 88:1984-01990.
  • Cahaner, A., J. A. Ajuh, M. Siegmund-Schultze, Y. Azoulay, S. Druyan, and A. Valle Zárate. 2008. Effects of the genetically reduced feather coverage in naked neck and featherless broilers on their performance under hot conditions. Poult. Sci. 87:2517-2527.
  • Druyan S., Y. Hadad, and A. Cahaner. 2008. Growth rate of ascites-resistant versus ascites-susceptible broilers in commercial and experimental lines. Poultry Sci. 87:904-911.
  • Atzmon, G., S. Blum, M. Feldman, A. Cahaner, U. Lavi, and J. Hillel. 2008. QTLs detected in a multigenerational resource chicken population. J. Hered. 99:528-538.
  • Druyan S., A. Cahaner and C. M. Ashwell, 2007. The expression patterns of HIF1α, HYOU1, HO1, and cTnT during development of the chicken heart. Poultry Sci. 86:2384-2389.
  • Druyan S., and A. Cahaner. 2007. Segregation among test-cross progeny suggests that two complementary dominant genes explain the difference between ascites-resistant and ascites-susceptible broiler lines. Poultry Sci. 86:2295-2300.
  • Druyan S., A. Ben-David, and A. Cahaner. 2007. Development of ascites-resistant and ascites-susceptible broiler lines. Poultry Sci. 86:811-822.
  • Druyan, S., A. Shlosberg, and A. Cahaner. 2007. Evaluation of growth rate, body weight, heart rate, and blood parameters as potential indicators for selection against susceptibility to the ascites syndrome in young broilers. Poultry Sci. 86:621-629.
  • Lahav, T., G. Atzmon, S. Blum, G. Ben-Ari, S. Weigend, A. Cahaner, U. Lavi and J. Hillel. 2006. Marker-assisted selection based on a multi-trait economic index in chicken: experimental results and simulation. Animal Genetics 37:482-488.
  • Lavi, Y., A. Cahaner, T. Pleban, and J. Pitkovski, 2005. Genetic variation in Major Histocompatibility Complex Class I α2 gene among broilers divergently selected for high or low early antibody response to Escherichia coli. Poultry Sci. 84:1199-1208.
  • Gur, A., Y. Semel, A. Cahaner, and N. Zamir, 2004. Real time QTL of complex phenotypes in tomato interspecific introgression lines. Trends in Plant Science 9:107-109.
  • Cahaner, A., S. Druyan, and N. Deeb, 2003. Improving broiler meat production, especially in hot climates, by genes that reduce or eliminate feather coverage. British Poultry Sci. 44 (Supplement):22-23.
  • Deeb, N., A. Shlosberg, and A. Cahaner, 2002. Genotype-by-environment interaction with broiler genotypes differing in growth rate. 4. Association between responses to heat stress and to cold-induced ascites. Poultry Sci. 81:1454-1462.
  • Yunis, R., E. D. Heller, J. Hillel, and A. Cahaner, 2002. Microsatellite markers associated with quantitative trait loci controlling antibody response to Escherichia coli and Salmonella enteritidis in young broilers. Animal Genetics 33:407-414.
  • Deeb, N. and A. Cahaner, 2002. Genotype-by-environment interaction with broiler genotypes differing in growth rate. 3. Growth rate and water consumption of broiler progeny from weight-selected versus non-selected parents under normal and high ambient temperatures. Poultry Sci. 81:293-301.
  • Atzmon, G., D. Cassuto, U. Lavi, A. Cahaner, G. Zeitlin, and J. Hillel, 2002. DNA markers and crossbreeding scheme as means to select sires for heterosis in egg production of chickens. Animal Genetics 33:132-139.
  • Yunis, R., E. D. Heller, and A. Cahaner, 2002. Genetic and phenotypic correlation between antibody responses to Escherichia Coli, infectious bursa disease virus (IBDV), and Newcastle disease virus (NDV), in broiler lines selected on antibody response to Escherichia Coli. Poultry Sci. 81:302-308.
  • Yunis, R., A. Ben-David, E. D. Heller, and A. Cahaner, 2002. Antibody responses and morbidity following infection with infectious bronchitis virus and challenge with Escherichia coli, in lines divergently selected on antibody response. Poultry Sci. 81:149-159.
  • Deeb, N., and A. Cahaner, 2001. Genotype-by-environment interaction with broiler genotypes differing in growth rate: 2. The effects of high ambient temperature on dwarf versus normal broilers. Poultry Sci. 80:541-548.
  • Deeb, N., and A. Cahaner, 2001. Genotype-by-environment interaction with broiler genotypes differing in growth rate. 1. The effects of high ambient temperature and naked-neck genotype on stocks differing in genetic background. Poultry Sci. 80:695-702
  • Pitcovski, J., A. Cahaner, E.D. Heller, T. Zouri, B. Gutter, Y. Gotfried and G. Leitner, 2001. Immune response and resistance to infectious bursal disease virus of chicken lines selected for high or low antibody response to Escherichia coli. Poultry Sci. 80:879-884.
  • Roush, W.B., R.F. Wideman, A. Cahaner, N. Deeb,B and T.L.Cravener, 2001. Minimal number of chicken daily growth velocities for artificial neural network detection of pulmonary hypertension syndrome (PHS). Poultry Sci. 80:254-259.
  • Yonash, N., H.H. Cheng, J. Hillel, E.D. Heller, and A. Cahaner, 2001. DNA microsatellites linked to quantitative trait loci affecting antibody response and survival rate in meat-type chickens. Poultry Sci. 80:22-28.
  • Yonash, N., G. Leitner, A. Cahaner, and E.D. Heller, 2000. The dynamics of antibody response to Escherichia coli vaccination in meat-type chicks. Poultry Sci. 79:1418-1423
  • Yunis, R., A. Ben-David, E.D. Heller, and A. Cahaner, 2000. Immunocompetence and viability under commercial conditions of broiler groups differing in growth rate and in antibody response to Escherichia coli vaccine. Poultry Sci. 79:810-816.
  • Kaiser M.G., N. Yonash, H.H. Cheng, A. Cahaner, and S.J. Lamont, 2000. Microsatellite polymorphism between and within broilers lines. Poultry Sci., 79:626-628.
  • Yonash, N., E.D. Heller, J. Hillel, and A. Cahaner, 2000. Detection of RFLP markers associated with antibody response in meat-type chickens: haplotype/genotype, single-band and multi-band analyses of RFLP in the major histocompatibility complex. J. Hered. 91:24-30.
  • Cahaner A., R. Yunis, Y. Lavi, and N. Deeb, 1999. Interactions between single-genes, polygenes, genetic backgrounds and environments, and their implication to broiler breeding and production. Proc. Eur. Poultry Genetics Symposium, Mariensee (Germany), pp. 50-58.
  • Yunis, R., and A. Cahaner, 1999. The effects of the naked-neck (Na) and frizzle (F) genes on growth and meat yield of broilers, and their interactions with ambient temperatures and potential growth rate. Poultry Sci. 78:1347-1352.
  • Settar, P., S. YalC'in, L. TC
  • Deeb, N., and A. Cahaner, 1999. The effects of naked neck genotypes, ambient temperature, feeding status and their interactions on body temperature and performance of broilers. Poultry Sci. 78:1341-1346.
  • Yonash, N., M. G. Kaiser, E.D. Heller, A. Cahaner, and S.J. Lamont, 1999. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) related cDNA probes associated with antibody response in meat-type chickens. Anim. Genet. 30:92-101.
  • Beharav, A., M.J. Pinthus, and A. Cahaner, 1998. Estimating heritability of familes derived from single plants at an advanced generation of self-fertilizing species: developing general formulas and estimating spring wheat traits. Israel J. Plant Sci. 46:209-212.
  • Yahav, S., D. Lugar, A. cahaner, M. Dotan, M. Rusal, and S. Hurwitz, 1998. Thermoregulation in naked neck chickens subjected to different ambient temperatures. Br. Poult. Sci. 39:133-138.
  • Cahaner, A., N. Deeb, R. Yunis, and Y. Lavi, 1998. Reduced stress tolerance in fast growing broilers. Proc. 10th European Poultry Conference, Jerusalem (Israel), Vol. I, pp. 113-117.
  • Shlosberg, A., M. Bellaiche, E. Berman, S. Perek, N. Deeb, E. Neumark, and A. Cahaner, 1998. Relationship between broiler chicken haematocrit-selected parents and their progeny, with regard to haematocrit, mortality from ascites and body weight. Res. Vet. Sci. 64:105-109.
  • Shlosberg, A., M. Bellaiche, E. Berman, A. Ben David, N. Deeb, and A. Cahaner, 1998. Comparative effects of added sodium chloride, ammonium chloride, or potassium bicarbonate in the drinking water of broilers, and feed restriction, on development of the ascites syndrome. Poultry Sci. 77:1287-1296.
  • Beharav, A., A. Cahaner and M.J. Pinthus, 1998 . Genetic correlations between culm length, grain yield and seedling elongation within tall (rht1) and semi-dwarf (Rht1) spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Eur. J. Agron. 9:35-40.
  • Cahaner A., N. Yonash, R. Yunis, J. Hillel, D. Heller, M. G. Kaiser, and S. J. Lamont, 1997. QTL identification in a cross between lines selected divergently for high and low immune response to E. coli. Proc. 3rd Eur. Poultry Breeders' Roundtable, Prague (Czech Republic), pp. 92-105.
  • Yalcin, S., Testik, A., Ozkan, S., Settar, P., Celen, F. and Cahaner, A. (1997) Performance of naked neck and normal broilers in hot, warm, and temperate climates. Poultry Sci., 76: 930b
  • Yalcin, S., Settar, P., Ozkan, S. and Cahaner, A. (1997) Comparative evaluation of three commercial broiler stocks under hot vs. temperate climate. Poultry Sci., 76: 921b



See also: Avigdor_Cahaner

Research Projects

Current Major Research Projects:

  • Heat tolerance: Inducing heat tolerance in broilers by genes responsible for reduced feather coverage (naked-neck) or for featherless chickens (scaleless).
  • Ascites: Studying the genetic control of resistance versus susceptibility to the ascites syndrome, and related effects on physiological parameters and on economically important performance traits. Selecting broilers for resistance to the ascites syndrome.
  • Meat yield and Quality: Genetic variation in growth rate, body confirmation, meat yield, and meat quality in broilers, and its relationship to environmental stresses.
  • Immunocompetence: Studying the genetic control of immune responses in young broilers by divergent selection and by DNA information.

Abstracts of three main Research Projects:

Inducing heat tolerance by the genes for naked neck (Na) and for featherless (sc, scaleless)

Genetic tolerance to heat stress could result from reduced feather coverage of broilers. The naked neck gene reduces total feather coverage by 20% to 40%. Under high ambient temperatures, naked neck broilers exhibited higher growth rate and meat yield than their normally feathered counterparts. Field trials in Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Vietnam and India have demonstrated the practical advantage of the Na gene in hot climates. The scaleless gene, at the homozygous recessive stage (sc/sc), eliminates the development of all feathers, thus producing completely naked chickens. This mutation, found in a slow-growing egg-type stock, has been introduced into fast-growing meat-type (broiler) stock, and its value to heat tolerance and the efficiency of broiler processing will be determined.

Genetics of resistance to the ascites syndrome and of related early-prediction physiological predictors

By selecting families that exhibited very low or very high rate of ascites, resistant and susceptible genotypes were established, differing in a single dominant major gene. Genomic tools are used to identify the sequence of this gene and determine his function. Broilers of the distinctive genotypes are used to decipher the physiological background of ascites. Performance traits (growth rate, body weight, meat yield and quality) and physiological traits (electrocardiography, blood oximetry, etc.) are evaluated at several ages in a series of trials, in order to predict and fully understand the consequences of selection for resistance to the ascites syndrome.

Genetic control of immune responses in young broilers by divergent selection and by DNA information

Selection on early antibody response to vaccination by Escherichia coli demonstrated the potential of breeding for immune response and disease resistance in young broilers. The divergent lines have been found to differ in several other immune functions. The selected lines differ also in frequency of DNA markers at the MHC and other genomic regions. Results indicate the feasibility of direct selection or marker-assisted-selection (MAS) for higher immunocompetence and disease resistance in young broilers.


See also: Avigdor_Cahaner