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Bioscientifica Proceedings (2020) 18 CPRCPR33 | DOI: 10.1530/biosciprocs.18.0033

CPR2009 Control of Pig Reproduction VIII Breeding Management Programs for The Future (4 abstracts)

Genetic selection for lifetime reproductive performance

A.C. Clutter

Newsham Choice Genetics, St Louis, MO USA

Genetic improvement of sow lifetime reproductive performance has value from both the economic perspectives of pork producers and the pork industry, but also from the perspective of ethical and animal welfare concerns by the general public. Genetic potential for piglets produced from individual litters is a primary determinant of lifetime prolificacy, but females must be able to sustain productivity without injury or death beyond the achievement of positive net present value. Evidence exists for between- and within-line genetic variation in sow lifetime performance, suggesting that improvements may be made by both line choices and genetic selection within lines. However, some of the same barriers to accurate within-line selection that apply to individual litter traits also present challenges to genetic selection for sow lifetime prolificacy: generally low heritabilites, sex-limited expression, expression after the age that animals are typically selected, and unfavorable genetic correlations with other traits in the profit function. In addition, there is an inherent conflict within the genetic nucleus herds where selections take place between the goal of shortened generation interval to accelerate genetic progress and the expression of sow lifetime traits. A proliferation in the industry of commercial multipliers with direct genetic ties and routine record flows to genetic nucleus herds provides a framework for accurate estimates of relevant genetic variances and covariances, and estimation of breeding values for sow lifetime traits that can be used in genetic selection.

© 2009 Society for Reproduction and Fertility

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