Genetic co-variance functions for live weight, feed intake, and efficiency measures in growing pigs
Coyne, J.M.; Berry, D.P.; Matilainen, Kaarina; Sevon-Aimonen, M-L.; Mäntysaari, Esa; Juga, J.; Serenius, T.; McHugh, N. (2017)
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Journal of Animal Science
American Society of Animal Science
The objective of the present study was to estimate genetic co-variance parameters pertaining to live weight, feed intake, and 2 efficiency traits (i.e., residual feed intake and residual daily gain) in a population of pigs over a defined growing phase using Legendre polynomial equations. The data set used consisted of 51,893 live weight records and 903,436 feed intake, residual feed intake (defined as the difference between an animal’s actual feed intake and its expected feed intake), and residual daily gain (defined as the difference between an animal’s actual growth rate and its expected growth rate) records from 10,201 growing pigs. Genetic co-variance parameters for all traits were estimated using random regression Legendre polynomials. Daily heritability estimates for live weight ranged from 0.25 ± 0.04 (d 73) to 0.50 ± 0.03 (d 122). Low to moderate heritability estimates were evident for feed intake, ranging from 0.07 ± 0.03 (d 66) to 0.25 ± 0.02 (d 170). The estimated heritability for residual feed intake was generally lower than those of both live weight and feed intake and ranged from 0.04 ± 0.01 (d 96) to 0.17 ± 0.02 (d 159). The heritability for feed intake and residual feed intake increased in the early stages of the test period and subsequently sharply declined, coinciding with older ages. Heritability estimates for residual daily gain ranged from 0.26 ± 0.03 (d 188) to 0.42 ± 0.03 (d 101). Genetic correlations within trait were strongest between adjacent ages but weakened as the interval between ages increased; however, the genetic correlations within all traits tended to strengthen between the extremes of the trajectory. Moderate to strong genetic correlations were evident among live weight, feed intake, and the efficiency traits, particularly in the early stage of the trial period (d 66 to 86), but weakened with age. Results from this study could be implemented into the national genetic evaluation for pigs, providing comprehensive information on the profile of growth and efficiency throughout the growing period of the animal’s life, thus helping producers identify genetically superior animals.
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