Genetic parameters for semen quality and quantity traits in five pig lines

D.B.D. Marques*, Marcos S. Lopes, M.L.W.J. Broekhuijse, S.E.F. Guimarães, E.F. Kno, J.W.M. Bastiaansen, F. Silva, Paulo S. Lopes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to estimate genetic parameters for semen quality and quantity traits as well as for within-boar variation of these traits to evaluate their inclusion in breeding goals. Genetic parameters were estimated within line using a multiple-trait (4 × 4) repeatability animal model fitted for 5 pig lines, considering 4 semen traits: sperm motility (MOT), sperm progressive motility (PROMOT), log-transformed number of sperm cells per ejaculate (lnNcells), and total morphological abnormalities (ABN). The within-boar variation of these traits was analyzed based on a multiple-trait (2 × 2) approach for SD and average (AVG) and a single-trait analysis for CV. The average heritabilities across the 5 lines estimated by multiple-trait analysis were 0.18 ± 0.07 (MOT), 0.22 ± 0.08 (PROMOT), 0.16 ± 0.04 (lnNcells), and 0.20 ± 0.04 (ABN). The average genetic correlations were favorable between MOT and PROMOT (0.86 ± 0.10), between MOT and ABN (−0.66 ± 0.25), and between PROMOT and ABN (−0.65 ± 0.25). As determined by within-boar variation analysis, AVG exhibited the greatest heritabilities followed by SD and CV, respectively, for the traits MOT and ABN. For PROMOT, average SD heritability was lower than CV heritability, whereas for lnNcells, they were the same. The average genetic correlations between AVG and SD were favorable for MOT (−0.60 ± 0.13), PROMOT (−0.79 ± 0.14), and ABN (0.78 ± 0.17). The moderate heritabilities indicate the possibility of effective selection of boars based on semen traits. Average and SD are proposed as appropriate traits for selection regarding uniformity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4251-4259
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Multiple-trait analysis
  • Pig
  • Selection
  • Semen
  • Variation analysis


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