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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

Genetic variation in efficiency to deposit fat and lean meat in Norwegian Landrace and Duroc pigs1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 93 No. 8, p. 3794-3800
    Received: Apr 07, 2015
    Accepted: June 03, 2015
    Published: July 24, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. K. H. Martinsen 2*,
  2. J. Ødegård,
  3. D. Olsen and
  4. T. H. E. Meuwissen*
  1. * Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
     AquaGen AS, P.O. Box 1240 Sluppen, NO-7462 Trondheim, Norway
     Topigs Norsvin, P.O. Box 504, NO-2304 Hamar, Norway


Feed costs amount to approximately 70% of the total costs in pork production, and feed efficiency is, therefore, an important trait for improving pork production efficiency. Production efficiency is generally improved by selection for high lean growth rate, reduced backfat, and low feed intake. These traits have given an effective slaughter pig but may cause problems in piglet production due to sows with limited body reserves. The aim of the present study was to develop a measure for feed efficiency that expressed the feed requirements per 1 kg deposited lean meat and fat, which is not improved by depositing less fat. Norwegian Landrace (n = 8,161) and Duroc (n = 7,202) boars from Topigs Norsvin’s testing station were computed tomography scanned to determine their deposition of lean meat and fat. The trait was analyzed in a univariate animal model, where total feed intake in the test period was the dependent variable and fat and lean meat were included as random regression cofactors. These cofactors were measures for fat and lean meat efficiencies of individual boars. Estimation of fraction of total genetic variance due to lean meat or fat efficiency was calculated by the ratio between the genetic variance of the random regression cofactor and the total genetic variance in total feed intake during the test period. Genetic variance components suggested there was significant genetic variance among Norwegian Landrace and Duroc boars in efficiency for deposition of lean meat (0.23 ± 0.04 and 0.38 ± 0.06) and fat (0.26 ± 0.03 and 0.17 ± 0.03) during the test period. The fraction of the total genetic variance in feed intake explained by lean meat deposition was 12% for Norwegian Landrace and 15% for Duroc. Genetic fractions explained by fat deposition were 20% for Norwegian Landrace and 10% for Duroc. The results suggested a significant part of the total genetic variance in feed intake in the test period was explained by fat and lean meat efficiency. These new efficiency measures may give the breeders opportunities to select for animals with a genetic potential to deposit lean meat efficiently and at low feed costs in slaughter pigs rather than selecting for reduced the feed intake and backfat.

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