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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

Estimation of genetic parameters for birth weight, preweaning mortality, and hot carcass weight of crossbred pigs1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 91 No. 12, p. 5565-5571
    Received: May 8, 2013
    Accepted: Oct 02, 2013
    Published: November 24, 2014

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. M. Dufrasne 2,
  2. I. Misztal,
  3. S. Tsuruta,
  4. J. Holl§,
  5. K. A. Gray§ and
  6. N. Gengler*
  1. Animal Science Unit, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, B-5030 Gembloux, Belgium
    Fonds pour la Formation à la Recherche dans l’Industrie et dans l’Agriculture (FRIA), B-1000 Brussels, Belgium
    Department of Animal and Dairy Science, University of Georgia, Athens 30602-2771
    Smithfield Premium Genetics, Rose Hill, NC 28458


Genetic parameters for birth weight (BWT), preweaning mortality (PWM), and HCW were estimated for a crossbred pig population to determine if BWT could be used as an early predictor for later performances. Sire genetic effects for those traits were estimated to determine if early selection of purebred sires used in crossbreeding could be improved. Data were recorded from 1 commercial farm between 2008 and 2010. Data were from 24,376 crossbred pigs from Duroc sires and crossbred Large White × Landrace dams and included 24,376 BWT and PWM records and 13,029 HCW records. For the analysis, PWM was considered as a binary trait (0 for live or 1 for dead piglet at weaning). A multitrait threshold-linear animal model was used, with animal effect divided into sire genetic and dam effects; the dam effects included both genetic and environmental variation due to the absence of pedigree information for crossbred dams. Fixed effects were sex and parity for all traits, contemporary groups for BWT and HCW, and age at slaughter as a linear covariable for HCW. Random effects were sire additive genetic, dam, litter, and residual effects for all traits and contemporary group for PWM. Heritability estimates were 0.04 for BWT, 0.02 for PWM, and 0.12 for HCW. The ratio between sire genetic and total estimated variances was 0.01 for BWT and PWM and 0.03 for HCW. Dam and litter variances explained, respectively, 14% and 15% of total variance for BWT, 2% and 10% for PWM, and 3% and 8% for HCW. Genetic correlations were −0.52 between BWT and PWM, 0.55 between BWT and HCW, and −0.13 between PWM and HCW. Selection of purebred sires for higher BWT of crossbreds may slightly improve survival until weaning and final market weight at the commercial level.

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Copyright © 2013. American Society of Animal Science