Statistical models to increase disease resilience and uniformity in animal production

H.A. Mulder, J. Herrero-Medrano, E.B. Sell-Kubiak, P.K. Mathur, E.F. Knol

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstractAcademic


Selection for increased disease resistance and tolerance is hampered by the lack of useful data that can be obtained from commercial production systems. A practical approach would be to use in one way or another fluctuations in production of animals as indicators for resilience, i.e. the combination of resistance and tolerance. Here we show two statistical approaches: a reaction norm model (RNM) and a double hierarchical generalized linear model (DHGLM). From a theoretical perspective, RNM is more appropriate for estimating EBV for resilience to disease outbreaks and other challenges. However, RNM needs an environmental covariate, which is not needed in DHGLM. Therefore, the DHGLM could be practically useful for estimating EBV for resilience to endemic diseases. Both models were applied to reproduction traits in pigs such as total number of born piglets and number of piglets born alive in sow lines. For the RNM, we first developed a challenge load indicator to estimate the level of challenge, based on drops in production. Subsequently, we used this challenge load indicator as a covariate in RNM. We found genetic correlations of 0.5-0.85 between healthy and diseased periods indicating reranking of animals, or in other words genetic variation in resilience. We applied a DHGLM to total number of born piglets and found substantial genetic variation in residual variance of litter size with a genetic coefficient of variation in residual variance of 0.17. Using degressed EBV, we found a few highly significant genomic regions affecting the variance of litter size. Both statistical approaches can yield EBV to increase resilience and uniformity of animal production by selection.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 66th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Print)9789086862696
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventEAAP - 66th Annual Meeting 2015 - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 31 Aug 20154 Sep 2015


ConferenceEAAP - 66th Annual Meeting 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Statistical models to increase disease resilience and uniformity in animal production'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this