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Research article2008Peer reviewed

Genetic correlations between gestation length, piglet survival and early growth

Rydhmer, Lotta; Lundeheim, Nils; Canario, Laurianne

Abstract

This study is based on 12708 first-parity and 7062 second-parity Yorkshire litters from Swedish nucleus herds; and on 1037 first-parity Yorkshire litters from an experimental herd. Gestation length was analysed together with litter size, piglet mortality and average piglet growth rate. A sire-dam model was used to estimate direct (litter) and maternal (sow) genetic effects. Direct heritability for gestation length was 0.3. Maternal heritability was estimated at 0.2 in nucleus data and 0.3 in experimental data. The maternal genetic correlation between gestation length and litter size was negative. The genetic correlations between gestation length and number stillborn were not consistent between the two data sets. Genetic correlations between gestation length and number dead after birth were negative. Genetic correlations between gestation length and average birth weight and piglet growth rate were positive. We conclude that gestation length is influenced by the genotype of the piglets and the genotype of the sow. Selection for prolonged gestation would probably improve piglet survival after birth and piglet growth; it might, however, result in more stillbirths. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V All rights reserved.

Keywords

gestation; farrowing; heritability; mortality; pig

Published in

Livestock Science
2008, Volume: 115, number: 2-3, pages: 287-293 Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV