New functional traits in selection of the Czech dam pig breeds
Breeding for animal functional traits can improve acceptability and long-term sustainability of the pig sector. Therefore, farrowing interval (FI) and number of sow teats (NST) were added to the current breeding objectives and selection criteria of the local dam pig breeds as the first step of the present index enrichment. In total, 5 traits as breeding objective and 7 traits as selection criteria were evaluated. Regarding the litter size, the number of piglets born alive (defined as breeding objective) was also considered in the index along with the total number of piglets born and weaned. Genetic and economic parameters of the traits of interest and general principles for selection index construction and for selection response calculation were applied. Under the current production and economic conditions, economic values of the new goal traits expressed per sow and year were -2.11 € per day of FI and 32.52 € per one functional teat. The trait breeding values were estimated with reliability of 22% and 60%, respectively. The currently constructed index indirectly resulted in unfavourable genetic changes in both traits (FI increased by 0.07 days and NST slightly reduced by -0.01 teats, both expressed per sow and generation interval). When the enhanced selection index was settled on actual traits ratio with making a space for the new traits (5%, 5%, 8% and 10% for piglets born total, piglets weaned, FI and NST, respectively), selection responses for the new goal traits were more favourable (+0.01 day and +0.05 functional teats) preserving the index reliability on 43%. The same was true when the index coefficients were optimised to reach the maximal selection response in breeding goal traits. In this case, responses of +0.01 day and +0.22 functional teats and a higher index reliability of 57% was reached. Proportion of growth was there reduced (up to 8%) in favour of the functional teats ratio (increased on 30%). The results showed that enhanced selection index results in a more favourable selection response in the new functional traits while keeping genetic gains in the current objective traits on acceptable levels.
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