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Genetics Selection Evolution

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Genetic parameters and responses of performance and body composition traits in pigs selected for high and low growth rate on a fixed ration over a set time

Genetics Selection Evolution200537:199

Received: 26 May 2004

Accepted: 11 October 2004

Published: 15 March 2005


Two lines of Large White pigs of common genetic origin were divergently selected over four years for high and low growth rate during a 6 week post-weaning test period in which all pigs were fed the same total amount of food (80% of estimated ad libitum intake). Genetic parameters and direct and correlated responses in performance and carcass traits were estimated on 2884 pigs with pedigrees comprising a total of 5324 animals, with restricted maximum likelihood and best linear unbiased prediction methods applied to a multi-trait animal model. Estimates of heritability (± SE) were 0.19 ± 0.04 for lifetime daily gain (LDG), 0.16 ± 0.03 for test daily gain (TDG), 0.25 ± 0.04 for ultrasound P2 backfat (UBF) and 0.16 ± 0.03 for food conversion ratio during test (TFC), and 0.15 ± 0.04 for daily carcass weight gain (CDG), 0.43 ± 0.06 for carcass backfat (CFT) and 0.40 ± 0.06 for carcass lean percentage (LEAN). Common litter effects for TDG, UBF and TFC were less than 5% and for LDG, 17% of total phenotypic variance. Genetic correlations between performance and carcass traits were moderately to highly favourable. After four years of divergent selection for growth rate, the selection responses in estimated breeding value (EBV) for TDG were 40.14 and -41.11 g (SED 2.95) for the high and low growth lines, respectively. The regressions of EBV on year of birth, indicate that the annual genetic trend for TDG, was 8.73 g/yr in the high and -8.48 g/yr in the low lines (P < 0.001). Correlated genetic responses in the high and low lines respectively were 5.28 g and -12.40 g (SED 2.09) in LDG, -0.35 mm and 0.56 mm (SED 0.009) in UBF, -0.145 units and 0.185 units (SED 0.012) in TFC, 3.17 g and -10.97 g (SED 1.53) in CDG, -1.13 mm and 1.01 mm (SED 0.155) in CFT and 1.24% and -1.27% (SED 0.150) in LEAN. It was concluded that selection for increased post-weaning daily gain on a ration of fixed amount reduces the age at slaughter and the level of backfat and increases the efficiency of food utilisation, weight and leanness of pig carcasses.


divergent selectionpiggrowthrestricted feedinggenetic responses

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Authors’ Affiliations

School of Veterinary Science, University of Queensland
Animal Research Institute, Queensland Department of Primary Industries
Institute of Agricultural Science of South Vietnam


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005