Genetic parameters for litter size in Black Slavonian pigs

Dubravko Skorput, Gregor Gorjanc, Marija Dikic, Zoran Lukovic


The objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for litter size of Black Slavonian pigs using the repeatability, multiple trait, and random regression models, and to consider the possibility to increase litter size in Black Slavonian pigs by selection. A total of 4733 litter records from the first to the sixth parity from sows that farrowed between January 1998 and December 2010 were included in the analysis. Individual record consisted of the following variables: breeding organisation (eight regions), parity (1-6), service boar, and farrowing season (month-year interaction). Estimation of all the covariance components with three different models was based on the residual maximum likelihood method. Estimate of additive genetic variance and heritability for number of piglets born alive with repeatability model was 0.23 and 0.10, respectively. Estimates of additive genetic variance with multiple trait and random regression model were in a wider range from 0.05 to 0.65 across parities, and heritabilities were estimated in the range between 0.03 and 0.26. Estimates of phenotypic and additive genetic correlations were much smoother with random regression model in comparison with multiple trait model. Due to unexpected changes of variances along trajectory obtained with multiple trait and random regression model, the best option for genetic evaluation of litter size for now could be the use of repeatability model. With increasing number of data with proper data structure alternative modelling of litter size of Black Slavonian pig using multiple trait and random regression model could be taken into consideration.


number of piglets born alive; local breed; repeatability; multiple trait model; random regression model

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2014121-4299