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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

Genetic analysis of within-litter variation in piglets’ birth weight using genomic or pedigree relationship matrices1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 93 No. 4, p. 1471-1480
    Received: Oct 31, 2014
    Accepted: Feb 01, 2015
    Published: March 27, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. E. Sell-Kubiak 2*3,
  2. S. Wang*33,
  3. E. F. Knol and
  4. H. A. Mulder*
  1. * Animal Breeding and Genomics Center, Wageningen University, PO Box 338, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
     Topigs Norsvin, P.O. Box 43, 6640 AA Beuningen, The Netherlands


The objective of this study was to estimate the genetic variance for within-litter variation of birth weight (BW0) using genomic (GRM) or pedigree relationship matrices (PRM) and to compare the accuracy of estimated breeding values (EBV) for within-litter variation of BW0 using GRM and PRM. The BW0 and residual variance of BW0 were modeled by the double hierarchical generalized linear model using GRM or PRM. Data came from 2 dam lines: Landrace and Large White. After editing, the data set in Landrace consisted of 748 sows with 1,938 litters and 29,430 piglets and in Large White of 989 sows with 3,320 litters and 51,818 piglets. To construct GRM, 46,466 (Landrace) and 44,826 (Large White) single nucleotide polymorphisms were used, whereas to construct PRM, 5 generations of pedigree were used. The accuracy of EBV with GRM was estimated with 8-fold cross-validation and compared to PRM. Estimated variance components were highly similar for GRM and PRM. The maternal genetic variance in residual variance of BW0 in Landrace was 0.05 with GRM and 0.06 with PRM. In Large White these were 0.04 with GRM and 0.05 with PRM. The genetic coefficient of variation (GCVSDe) was about 0.10 in both dam lines. This indicates a change of 10% in residual SD of BW0 when achieving a genetic response of 1 genetic standard deviation. The genetic correlation between birth weight and its residual variance was about 0.6 in both dam lines. The accuracies of selection for within-litter variation of birth weight were 0.35 with GRM and 0.23 with PRM in Landrace and 0.29 with GRM and 0.34 with PRM in Large White. In this case, using GRM did not significantly increase accuracies of selection. Results, however, show good opportunities to select for reduced within-litter variation of BW0. Genomic selection can increase accuracy of selection when reference populations contain at least 2,000 sows.

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