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J Anim Sci. 2002 Jun;80(6):1470-7.

Maternal effects on traits measured during postweaning performance test of swine from four breeds.

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Department of Animal Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701, USA.


The objective of this study was to investigate the importance of maternal genetic effects on postweaning performance traits of Yorkshire, Landrace, Duroc, and Hampshire breeds of swine. Data consisted of performance test records collected in a commercial swine operation from 1992 to 1999. Boars from 60% of the litters were culled at weaning based on a combination of maternal and performance indexes that differed by breed. Remaining boars and all females were grown to 100 d of age. At this time all pigs were weighed (WT100) and selected for testing using recalculated breed-specific indexes (n = 15,594, 55,497, 12,267, and 9,782 for Landrace, Yorkshire, Duroc, and Hampshire, respectively). All pigs were weighed at the end of the 77-d test, and backfat (BF) and loin eye area (LEA) were measured over the 12th rib by ultrasound. Average daily feed intake was calculated for boars, and ADG was calculated for all animals. Genetic parameters were estimated for each breed and trait using multiple-trait DFREML procedures. Fixed effects were contemporary groups and either initial or final test age as a covariate. Four models were examined. Model 1 included only the additive genetic effect of the animal. Model 2 added the common litter environmental effect; Model 3 added the maternal genetic value assumed to be uncorrelated with additive genetic effects. Model 4 was the same as Model 3 with additive and maternal genetic effects assumed to be correlated. All models were two-trait models with WT100 as the second trait. Ratios of likelihoods were used to compare models. Maternal effects were important (P < 0.05) for WT100, ADG, ADFI, LEA, and BF in Landrace; for WT100, ADG, LEA, and BF in Yorkshire; for WT100 and ADG in Duroc, and for WT100 in Hampshire. Estimates of heritabilities for direct additive effects using the appropriate model for ADG, ADFI, LEA, and BF were 0.28, 0.34, 0.48, and 0.63 for Landrace; 0.26, 0.31, 0.39, and 0.65 for Yorkshire; 0.14, 0.20, 0.26, and 0.35 for Duroc; and 0.17, 0.23, 0.25, and 0.31 for Hampshire, respectively. Heritability estimates for maternal genetic effects for ADG, ADFI, LEA, and BF were 0.02, 0.05, 0.06, and 0.07 for Landrace and 0.02, 0, 0.04, and 0.06 for Yorkshire, respectively. They were zero for all traits except ADG (0.03) in Duroc and for all traits in Hampshire. Maternal effects may need to be considered in genetic evaluation of performance traits in some breeds of swine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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