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Genetic control of front leg weakness in duroc swine ii. correlated responses in growth rate backfat and reproduction from five generations of divergent selection



Genetic control of front leg weakness in duroc swine ii. correlated responses in growth rate backfat and reproduction from five generations of divergent selection



Livestock Production Science 19(3-4): 473-486



Correlated responses resulting from 5 generations of divergent selection for front-leg structure were investigated. Duroc pigs of similar age and management status were scored for front-leg structure and divided into 3 lines. The high line consisted of pigs with no front-leg weakness, the control line had intermediate front-leg weakness and the low line had increased front-leg weakness. Selection for front-leg structure was within line and replicate (2 replicates) based on front-leg structure scores at 100 kg. Performance traits for which correlated responses were examined included ultrasonically measured backfat (BF), average daily gain from weaning to 100 kg. (ADG) and days to 104 kg (DAYS). The litter reproduction traits included total number born, number born alive, litter birth weight, number weaned and litter weight at weaning. Also measured were age at first breeding and at conception and days from first breeding to conception. Sire reproductive performance was also measured. No significant correlated responses were detected in ADG or DAYS in either high- or low-line pigs. High-line pigs, however, became significantly fatter than low-line pigs during the experiment. Correlated responses in reproduction were slight with low-line gilts having lower pregnancy rates compared with those of high-line females, and the farrowing rate of females mated to low-line boars was less than that of high-line boars. Overall performance of control-line individuals was generally superior to either high- or low-line pigs. These results suggest, in general, that culling for leg weakness will make some improvement in reproduction productivity while slightly decreasing market performance.

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