Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

May 1983


Published in JOURNAL OF ANIMAL SCIENCE, Vol. 56, No. 5, 1983. Copyright American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Testicular growth of 377 boars was compared by obtaining in situ measurements of testes width and length and excised tissue weights. Two experiments involved a line selected nine generations for ovulation rate (OR) and a control line (CL), and two experiments contained boars of the OR line and two other lines; WL, a Large White-Landrace cross, and a line founded by crossing lines OR and CL and selected six generations for increased average daily gain and decreased backfat (LG line). In situ testes measurements were similar for the OR and CL lines and were curvilinearly related to age. The LG line had smaller in situ measurements than the OR line (P<.05) when both unadjusted means and means adjusted for body weight were compared. The OR line had 10.5% heavier testes than the CL line at 90.8 kg and a 9 to 15% advantage at 120, 141, 162 and 183 d of age. The OR line had more rapid testicular development from 120 to 183 d of age (P<.05) than the CL line. The LG line had significantly lower excised testes weights (17 to 50% less), a lower percentage of tubules that showed active spermatogenesis and lower mean diameter of the seminiferous tubules (P<.05) than the OR line. The relative differences between lines OR, CL and LG suggest that selection for lean growth rate has resulted in less rapid testicular development and increased age at puberty. The correlations of testes weights and in situ testes measurements taken at the time of castration were between .76 and .93. The correlations of testes width and testes length with epididymides weights were slightly lower, and correlations of body weight and testes weight ranged from .51 to .70. Mean diameter of the seminiferous tubules and percentage of tubules with active spermatogenesis were correlated with measurements of testes size (r = .50 to .61) and body weight at the time of castration (r = .29 to .36). Correlations of excised testes weights with number born in the boar's contemporary litter and ovulation rate of full sibs were uniformily positive. The correlations of measurements of testes size and backfat (r = -.09 to .20) suggest that the phenotypic relationship between testes growth and body composition is small. However, the response found in the LG line suggests a negative genetic relationship between lean growth rate and testicular growth rate.