Estimation of litter size variability phenotypes in Large White sows
Dobrzański, Jan ; Mulder, Han A. ; Knol, Egbert F. ; Szwaczkowski, Tomasz ; Sell-Kubiak, Ewa - \ 2020
Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics (2020). - ISSN 0931-2668
pigs - reproductive traits - total number born - trait's variation
The objective of this study was to obtain new phenotypes of phenotypic variability for the total number born (TNB) in pigs using the residual variance of TNB. The analysis was based on 246,799 Large White litter observations provided by Topigs Norsvin. Three animal models were used to obtain estimates of residual variance for TNB: the basic model (BM) containing fixed effects of farm–year and season and random effects of animal and permanent environmental sow, the basic model with an additional fixed effect of parity (BMP) and a random regression model (RRM). The within-individual variance of the residuals was calculated and log-transformed to obtain three new variability traits: LnVarBM, LnVarBMP and LnVarRRM. Then, (co)variance components, heritability, the genetic coefficient of variation at the standard deviation level (GCVSDe) and genetic correlations between the three LnVar's and between the LnVar's and mean total number born (mTNB) were estimated with uni-, bi- and trivariate models. Results indicated that genetically LnVar's are the same trait and are positively correlated with the mTNB (~0.60). Thus, both traits should be included in breeding programmes to avoid an increase in TNB variability while selecting for increased TNB. Heritability of the LnVar's was estimated at 0.021. The GCVSDe for LnVar's showed that a change of 8% in residual standard deviation of TNB could be obtained per generation. Those results indicate that phenotypic variability of litter size is under genetic control, thus it may be improved by selection.