Impact of the ESR gene on litter size and production traits in Czech Large White pigs

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SummaryTo evaluate the effect of the PvuII polymorphism of the oestrogen receptor gene on litter size and production traits in Czech Large White swine, data from 1250 sows and 3600 litters were analysed with two four-trait animal models. The traits in the first model were number of piglets born alive in a sow's first litter, number of piglets born alive in second and subsequent litters, lifetime daily gain and lean meat percentage. The second model included number of piglets born, number of piglets born alive, number of piglets weaned and litter weight at weaning from first and subsequent litters. The oestrogen receptor (ESR) locus significantly affected prolicacy in the first parity and averaged over all parities (P < 0.05), with allele A superior to allele B. In the first parity, AA sows produced approximately 0.5 more live piglets per litter than BB sows. Averaged over all parities, this difference was c. 0.25 piglets. Results for total number of piglets born and number of piglets weaned were similar to results for numbers born alive. No significant dominance effect was found for prolificacy traits. For litter weight at weaning, no significant additive effect was observed at the ESR locus, but a significant negative dominance effect (−1.5 kg) was estimated averaged across parities (litters of AB sows were similar to litters of BB sows for this trait). No pleiotropic effect of the ESR polymorphism on average daily gain or lean meat percentage was found.

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