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Genetics Selection Evolution

Open Access

Genetic parameters for canalisation analysis of litter size and litter weight traits at birth in mice

  • Juan Pablo Gutiérrez1Email author,
  • Blanca Nieto1,
  • Pepa Piqueras1,
  • Noelia Ibáñez2 and
  • Concepción Salgado1
Genetics Selection Evolution200638:445

Received: 10 November 2005

Accepted: 24 April 2006

Published: 6 September 2006


The aim of this research was to explore the genetic parameters associated with environmental variability for litter size (LS), litter weight (LW) and mean individual birth weight (IW) in mice before canalisation. The analyses were conducted on an experimental mice population designed to reduce environmental variability for LS. The analysed database included 1976 records for LW and IW and 4129 records for LS. The total number of individuals included in the analysed pedigree was 3997. Heritabilities estimated for the traits under an initial exploratory approach varied from 0.099 to 0.101 for LS, from 0.112 to 0.148 for LW and from 0.028 to 0.033 for IW. The means of the posterior distribution of the heritability under a Bayesian approach were the following: 0.10 (LS), 0.13 (LW) and 0.03 (IW). In general, the heritabilities estimated under the initial exploratory approach for the environmental variability of the analysed traits were low. Genetic correlations estimated between the trait and its variability reached values of -0.929 (LS), -0.815 (LW) and 0.969 (IW). The results presented here for the first time in mice may suggest a genetic basis for variability of the evaluated traits, thus opening the possibility to be implemented in selection schemes.


canalisationvariabilitymicelitter sizelitter weight

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Authors’ Affiliations

Departamento de Producción Animal, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Ctr UdL IRTA, Area Prod Anim, Lleida, Spain


© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006