Genetic correlations between feed efficiency traits, and growth performance and carcass traits in purebred and crossbred pigs

R.M. Godinho*, R. Bergsma, F.F. Silva, C.A. Sevillano, E.F. Knol, M.S. Lopes, P.S. Lopes, J.W.M. Bastiaansen, S.E.F. Guimarães

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Selection for feed efficiency (FE) is a strategy to reduce the production costs per unit of animal product, which is one of the major objectives of current animal breeding programs. In pig breeding, selection for FE and other traits traditionally takes place based on purebred pig (PB) performance at the nucleus level, while pork production typically makes use of crossbred animals (CB). The success of this selection, therefore, depends on the genetic correlation between the performance of PB and CB (rpc) and on the genetic correlation (rg) between FE and the other traits that are currently under selection. Different traits are being used to account for FE, but the rpc has been reported only for feed conversion rate. Therefore, this study aimed 1) to estimate the rpc for growth performance, carcass, and FE traits; 2) to estimate rg between traits within PB and CB populations; and 3) to compare three different traits representing FE: feed conversion rate, residual energy intake (REI), and residual feed intake (RFI). Phenotypes of 194,445 PB animals from 23 nucleus farms, and 46,328 CB animals from three farms where research is conducted under near commercial production conditions were available for this study. From these, 22,984 PB and 8,657 CB presented records for feed intake. The PB population consisted of five sire and four dam lines, and the CB population consisted of terminal cross-progeny generated by crossing sires from one of the five PB sire lines with commercially available two-way maternal sow crosses. Estimates of rpc ranged from 0.61 to 0.71 for growth performance traits, from 0.75 to 0.82 for carcass traits, and from 0.62 to 0.67 for FE traits. Estimates of rg between growth performance, carcass, and FE traits differed within PB and CB. REI and RFI showed substantial positive rg estimates in PB (0.84) and CB (0.90) populations. The magnitudes of rpc estimates indicate that genetic progress is being realized in CB at the production level from selection on PB performance at nucleus level. However, including CB phenotypes recorded on production farms, when predicting breeding values, has the potential to increase genetic progress for these traits in CB. Given the genetic correlations with growth performance traits and the genetic correlation between the performance of PB and CB, REI is an attractive FE parameter for a breeding program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-829
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume96
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Breeding program
  • Carcass traits
  • Feed efficiency
  • Genetic correlations
  • Growing-Finishing pigs
  • Growth

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic correlations between feed efficiency traits, and growth performance and carcass traits in purebred and crossbred pigs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this