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Animal Science, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine

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Published Version

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Journal of Animal Science





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The objective of this study was to estimate genetic associations for gilt growth, compositional, and structural soundness with sow longevity and lifetime reproduction. Performance and pedigree information from 1,447 commercial females from 2 genetic lines were included in the data analyzed. Growth was expressed as days to 113.5 kg BW (DAYS) and compositional traits included loin muscle area (LMA), 10th rib backfat (BF10), and last rib backfat (LRF). Structural soundness traits included body structure traits [length (BL), depth (BD), width (BWD), rib shape (BRS), top line (BTL), and hip structure (BHS)], leg structure traits [front legs: legs turned (FLT), buck knees (FBK), pastern posture (FPP), foot size (FFS), and uneven toes (FUT); rear legs: legs turned (RLT), leg posture (RLP), pastern posture (RPP), foot size (RFS), and uneven toes (RUT)], and overall leg action (OLA). Lifetime (LT) and removal parity (RP) were considered as longevity traits whereas lifetime reproductive traits included lifetime total number born (LNB), lifetime number born alive (LBA), number born alive per lifetime day (LBA/LT), and percentage productive days from total herd days (PD%). Genetic parameters were estimated with linear animal models using the average information REML algorithm. Second, to account for censored longevity and lifetime reproduction records, genetic parameters were estimated using Markov Chain Monte Carlo and Gibbs sampling methods. Similar estimates were obtained across the analysis methods. Heritability estimates for growth and compositional traits ranged from 0.50 to 0.70 and for structural soundness traits from 0.07 to 0.31. Longevity and lifetime reproductive trait heritability estimates ranged from 0.14 to 0.17 when REML was used. Unfavorable genetic correlations were obtained for DAYS with LT, RP, LNB, LBA, and PD% and for LRF with PD%. However, LMA was favorably associated with LT, RP, and LNB. Moderate to high correlations were obtained for BL and BRS with all longevity and lifetime reproductive traits. Correlations of BWD with LT and RP were moderate. Associations for leg soundness traits with longevity and lifetime reproductive traits were mainly low and nonsignificant (P ≥ 0.10). However, RLP was moderately correlated with LBA/LT and PD%. Current results indicate that selection for fewer DAYS has an antagonistic effect on lifetime performance. Furthermore, great BL, flat BRS, narrow BWD, and upright RLP seem detrimental to sow longevity and lifetime reproduction.


This is an article from Journal of Animal Science 91 (2013): 1570, doi:10.2527/jas.2012-5723. Posted with permission.

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American Society of Animal Science



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