Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



J. Anim. Sci. 2014.92: pp. 4806–4822, doi:10.2527/jas2014-8125.


Copyright 2014 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


Selection (28 generations, G) in a Large White–Landrace composite population for traits aimed at increasing live pigs born per litter (BA), with additional selection for increased 180-d weight (WT180) and longissimus muscle area (LMA) and decreased back fat (BF10) in the last 8 generations, was practiced. Objectives herein were to estimate genetic and phenotypic responses and genetic parameters (n = 1,883 to 54,174) and to investigate whether a plateau in response for BA occurred. Line 2 (L2) was selected for an index of ovulation rate and embryo survival (G0 to G11), fully formed pigs (FF) per litter (G12 to 14), and BA and pig birth weight (PBW, G15 to G19), and its control line (LC1) was selected randomly (G0 to G21). Line 4 (L4), derived from L2, and line 5 (L5), derived from LC1, at G8 were selected in 2 stages for ovulation rate and FF (G9 to G16) and BA and PBW (G17 to G19), and their control (LC6) was selected randomly. At G20, L4 and L5 were crossed to form L45, and L4 and L2 were crossed to continue L2; L2 and L45 were subsequently selected for BA, WT180, LMA, and BF10 (G21 to G28). At G21, LC1 and LC6 were reciprocally crossed to form LC16, control for L2, and LC61, control for L45. Selection in L2 and L45 was first for BA and then for other traits among pigs selected for BA. Line sizes were 40 to 60 litters by 15 to 20 sires/G. Cumulative selection differentials (CSD) were calculated. MTDFREML was used to estimate variance components, EBV, and responses. Genetic changes at G28 in L2 were 4.63 FF and 3.66 BA, with 72% (FF) and 86% (BA) of the change occurring after G11. Two-stage selection produced similar responses (P < 0.01) in FF in L4 and L5 (0.27 and 0.29 pigs/G) but a greater response in BA in L5 (0.19 vs. 0.28 pigs/G). Genetic change in L45 from G20 to G28 was 0.17 pigs/G for both FF and BA (P < 0.01). Genetic changes at G28 in L45 were 4.16 FF and 3.68 BA. Genetic correlations of reproductive and growth traits were near zero, ranging from -0.43 (stillborn pigs/ litter with BF10) to 0.21 (mummies/litter with LMA). Selection for growth traits along with litter size selection during G19 to G28 resulted in responses consistent with the selection applied and the heritability of the trait. No evidence for a selection plateau existed; selection differentials and variances of FF and BA in selection lines during G20 to G28 were similar to those in earlier generations. Over all generations, heritability of BA was 0.20 ± 0.03 and remained at approximately 0.17 in selection lines in later generations.