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Biological Sciences


The experiments reported here were conducted to investigate the effect of selection on three quantitative traits, namely cocoon weight, cocoon shell weight, and cocoon shell percentage, during four generations by rearing six pure breeds of domesticated silkworm, Bombyx mori L. (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae) of Chinese and Japanese origin compared with random unselected groups as controls. All stages of rearing and data recording were performed over four rearing periods, with generations 1–3 during successive spring seasons and generation 4 during the autumn season in year 3. Each pure line contained two groups of selected and random (control) groups. Comparisons included the effect of selection methods, pure line, and generation on the phenotypic values. We found strong main effects of pure line, generation, sex, and group and support for nearly all interactions between these main effects for all three response traits. The results indicated that cocoon weight and cocoon shell weight in the selected group were higher than in the control or nonselected group. Both selected and nonselected groups had the lowest cocoon weight, cocoon shell weight, and cocoon shell percentage in the fourth generation when environmental conditions during the autumn season were less favorable than spring. The cocoon weight and cocoon shell weight averages were higher for nonselected groups in the second and third generations, and for the selected group in the first generation due to the direct effect of selection.

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