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Mormede P.,University of Bordeaux Segalen | Mormede P.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | Foury A.,University of Bordeaux Segalen | Foury A.,French National Institute for Agricultural Research | And 3 more authors.
Animal | Year: 2011

Robustness in farm animals was defined by Knap as the ability to combine a high production potential with resilience to stressors, allowing for unproblematic expression of a high production potential in a wide variety of environmental conditions. The importance of robustness-related traits in breeding objectives is progressively increasing towards the production of animals with a high production level in a wide range of climatic conditions and production systems, together with a high level of animal welfare. Current strategies to increase robustness include selection for 'functional traits', such as skeletal and cardiovascular integrity, disease resistance and mortality in various stages. It is also possible to use global evaluation of sensitivity to the environment (e.g. reaction norm analysis or canalization), but these techniques are difficult to implement in practice. The hypothalamic-pituitary- adrenocortical (HPA) axis is the most important stress-responsive neuroendocrine system. Cortisol (or corticosterone) released by the adrenal cortices exerts a large range of effects on metabolism, the immune system, inflammatory processes and brain function, for example. Large individual variations have been described in the HPA axis activity with important physiopathological consequences. In terms of animal production, higher cortisol levels have negative effects on growth rate and feed efficiency and increase the fat/lean ratio of carcasses. On the contrary, cortisol has positive effects on traits related to robustness and adaptation. For instance, newborn survival was shown to be directly related to plasma cortisol levels at birth, resistance to bacteria and parasites are increased in animals selected for a higher HPA axis response to stress, and tolerance to heat stress is better in those animals that are able to mount a strong stress response. Intense selection for lean tissue growth during the last decades has concomitantly reduced cortisol production, which may be responsible for the negative effects of selection on piglet survival. One strategy to improve robustness is to select animals with higher HPA axis activity. Several sources of genetic polymorphism have been described in the HPA axis. Hormone production by the adrenal cortices under stimulation by adrenocorticotropin hormone is a major source of individual differences. Several candidate genes have been identified by genomic studies and are currently under investigation. Bioavailability of hormones as well as receptor and post-receptor mechanisms are also subject to individual variation. Integration of these different sources of genetic variability will allow the development of a model for marker-assisted selection to improve animal robustness without negative side effects on production traits. Copyright © 2010 The Animal Consortium.

Roehe R.,Sustainable Livestock Systems Group | Shrestha N.P.,Northumbria University | Mekkawy W.,Ain Shams University | Baxter E.M.,Sustainable Livestock Systems Group | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2010

Multivariate Bayesian linear-threshold models were used to estimate genetic parameters of peri-and postnatal piglet survival and individual birth weight of piglets reared under outdoor conditions. Data of 21,835 individual piglet observations were available from a 2-generation crossbreeding experiment selected for direct and maternal genetic effects of postnatal pig-let survival on piglet and dam levels, respectively. In the first generation, approximately one-half of the Landrace sires used were selected for large or average breeding values of maternal genetic effects on postnatal piglet survival, whereas in the second generation the Large White sires used were selected for direct genetic effects of the same trait. Estimates of direct and maternal her-itability were 0.21 and 0.15, 0.24 and 0.14, and 0.36 and 0.28 for piglet survival at birth and during the nurs-ing period, and individual birth weight, respectively. In particular, direct heritabilities are substantially larger than those from the literature estimated for indoor-reared piglets, suggesting that genetic effects of these traits are substantially greater under outdoor condi-tions. Direct or maternal genetic correlations between survival traits or with birth weight were small (ranging from 0.06 to 0.17), indicating that peri-and postnatal survival are genetically under rather different control, and survival was only slightly positively influenced by birth weight. There were significant (P < 0.05) nega-tive genetic correlations between direct and maternal genetic effects within each of the analyzed traits rang-ing from -0.36 to -0.45, which have to be considered when selecting for piglet survival. Adjustment of traits for litter size or inclusion of genetic groups showed in-significant effects on the magnitude of the estimated genetic parameters. The magnitude of genetic param-eters suggested that there is substantial potential for genetic improvement of survival traits and birth weight in direct and maternal genetic effects, especially when piglets are kept under outdoor conditions. © 2010 American Society of Animal Science.

Shirali M.,Animal and Veterinary science | Shirali M.,Wageningen University | Doeschl-Wilson A.,Roslin Institute | Duthie C.,Future Farming Systems Group | And 4 more authors.
Livestock Science | Year: 2014

The aims of this study were to (i) compare models estimating residual energy intake (REI) using either lean and fat tissue growth or their proxy traits (average daily gain (ADG) and backfat thickness (BF)); (ii) determine genetic characteristics of REI at different growth stages and the entire test period; and (iii) examine 9 genetic and phenotypic relationships of REI with other production traits. Data from 315 pigs of an F2 generation were used which originated from crossing Pietrain sires with a commercial crossbred dam population. Average daily protein (APD) and lipid deposition (ALD), as measurements of lean and fat tissue growth, were obtained using the deuterium dilution technique on live animals. During growth from 60 to 140kg, REI was estimated using 4 different models for energy intake that included, besides other systematic effects, (1) ADG and BF; (2) APD and ALD; (3) and (4) incorporated the same covariables as the first two models, respectively, but pre-adjusted for systematic effects. Genetic parameters and estimated breeding values were obtained based on univariate animal models using REML analysis. Over the entire growing period, heritabilities of different REI using different models were all estimated at 0.44 and their genetic correlations were at unity. At different growth stages heritabilities for REI were greater ranging from 0.47 to 0.50. Genetic correlations between REI estimates at different stages of growth, obtained using genetic model 4, indicated that REI at 60 to 90kg was non-significantly (P>0.05) associated with REI at 90-120kg (0.32±0.29) and 120-140kg (0.28±0.28), but REI of the latter growth stages showed a significant (P<0.05) moderate genetic correlation (0.58±0.21). REI had favourable genetic correlations with feed conversion ratio (FCR, 0.84±0.13) and total nitrogen excretion (TNE, 0.85±0.11). The results indicate that REI estimated based on models using proxy traits for lean and fat tissue deposition resulted in slightly lower accuracies compared to models fitting APD and ALD, which explained a greater variation of energy intake. There is great potential for improvement of REI due to its large heritability. Genetic selection for REI should consider the stages of growth, because of their differences in genetic background. REI explained a large portion of variance in FCR and TNE, therefore selection for REI is expected to result in, besides improvement of feed efficiency, a substantial reduction in the environmental pollution of pig production. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Shirali M.,Sustainable Livestock Systems Group | Shirali M.,Wageningen University | Doeschl-Wilson A.,Roslin Institute | Knap P.W.,Roslin Institute | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Animal Science | Year: 2012

The objectives of this study were to determine nitrogen loss at different stages of growth and during the entire growing period and to investigate the associations between nitrogen excretion and production traits in growing pigs. Data from 315 pigs of an F2 population which originated from crossing Pietrain sires with a commercial dam line were used. Nitrogen retention was derived from protein retention as measured using the deuterium dilution technique during different stages of growth (60 to 90 kg, 90 to 120 kg, and 120 to 140 kg). Pigs were fed ad libitum with 2 pelleted diets containing 17% (60 to 90 kg) and 16.5% (90 to 120 and 120 to 140 kg) CP. Average daily nitrogen excretion (ADNE) within each stage of growth was calculated on the basis of the accumulated difference between average daily nitrogen intake (ADNI) and average daily nitrogen retention (ADNR). Least ADNE, nitrogen excretion per BW gain (NEWG) and total nitrogen excretion (TNE) were observed during growth from 60 to 90 kg. In contrast, the greatest ADNE, NEWG, and TNE were found during growth from 120 to 140 kg. Statistical analyses indicated that gender, housing type, the ryanodine receptor 1 (RYR1) gene, and batch influenced nitrogen excretion (P < 0.05), but the degree and direction of influences differed between growth stages. Gender differences showed that gilts excreted less nitrogen than barrows (P < 0.05), which was associated with decreased feed conversion ratio (FCR; feed:gain) and lipid:protein gain ratio. Single-housed pigs showed reduced nitrogen excretion compared with group-housed pigs (P < 0.05). In comparison to other genotypes, pigs carrying genotype NN (homozygous normal) at the RYR1 locus had the least nitrogen excretion (P < 0.05) at all stages of growth except from 60 to 90 kg. The residual correlations indicated that NEWG and TNE have large positive correlations with FCR (r = 0.99 and 0.91, respectively) and moderate negative correlations with ADG (r = -0.53 and -0.48, respectively), for the entire growing period. Improvement in FCR, increase in ADG and reduction in lipid:protein gain ratio by 1 phenotypic SD reduced TNE per pig by 709 g, 307 g, and 211 g, respectively, over the entire growing period. The results indicate that nitrogen excretion changes substantially during growth, and it can be reduced most effectively by improvement of feed efficiency and to a lesser extent through the improvement of BW gain or body composition or both. © 2012 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved.

Shirali M.,Animal and Veterinary science | Shirali M.,Wageningen University | Duthie C.-A.,Future Farming Systems | Doeschl-Wilson A.,Roslin Institute | And 4 more authors.
BMC Genetics | Year: 2013

Background: Improvement of feed efficiency in pigs is of great economical and environmental interest and contributes to use limited resources efficiently to feed the world population. Genome scans for feed efficiency traits are of importance to reveal the underlying biological causes and increase the rate of genetic gain. The aim of this study was to determine the genomic architecture of feed efficiency measured by residual energy intake (REI), in association with production, feed conversion ratio (FCR) and nitrogen excretion traits through the identification of quantitative trait loci (QTL) at different stages of growth using a three generation full-sib design population which originated from a cross between Pietrain and a commercial dam line.Results: Six novel QTL for REI were detected explaining 2.7-6.1% of the phenotypic variance in REI. At growth from 60-90 kg body weight (BW), a QTL with a significant dominance effect was identified for REI on SSC14, at a similar location to the QTL for feed intake and nitrogen excretion traits. At growth from 90-120 kg BW, three QTL for REI were detected on SSC2, SSC4 and SSC7 with significant additive, imprinting and additive effects, respectively. These QTL (except for the imprinted QTL) were positionally overlapping with QTL for FCR and nitrogen excretion traits. During final growth (120-140 kg BW), a further QTL for REI was identified on SSC8 with significant additive effect, which overlapped with QTL for nitrogen excretion. During entire analysed growth (60-140 kg BW), a novel additive QTL for REI on SSC4 was observed, with no overlapping with QTL for any other traits considered.Conclusions: The occurrence of only one overlapping QTL of REI with feed intake suggests that only a small proportion of the variance in REI was explained by change in feed intake, whereas four overlapping QTL of REI with those of nitrogen excretion traits suggests that mostly underlying factors of feed utilisation such as metabolism and protein turnover were the reason for change in REI. Different QTL for REI were identified at different growth stages, indicating that different genes are responsible for efficiency in feed utilisation at different stages of growth. © 2013 Shirali et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

PubMed | PIC International Group
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Meat science | Year: 2011

The performance of a visual image analysis (VIA) system was tested with regards to its potential to determine in vivo carcass composition and conformation, either alone, or in conjunction with other in vivo measures such as live weight and backfat depth. Pigs of both sexes of a commercial type were reared and slaughtered at weights ranging from 50 to 120 kg. Feeding was ad libitum on diets ranging from 0.14 to 0.19 kgkg(-1) crude protein content to produce animals of a range of body condition. Two analyses were carried out: the first analysis addressed the relationship between dimensionless carcass and VIA indices; the second analysis assessed the relationship between carcass composition and VIA body shape using detrended carcass and VIA data, which were produced by removal of allometric growth trends. A statistically significant relationship (P<0.05) between in vivo VIA body size and shape and carcass muscle dimensions and composition was found for most body regions. Adjusted R(2) statistics ranged between 0.13 and 0.54 for relative fat weights and between 0.14 and 0.51 for relative lean weights. The predictive power of the regression models, indicated by R(2)-like statistics for prediction, was approximately 70% of the adjusted R(2) values. The descriptive and predictive powers of the corresponding models generally strengthened if VIA indices were combined with other in vivo measurements. The relationships between in vivo and carcass measures remained statistically significant (P<0.05) after removal of the growth trends, although adjusted R(2) statistics generally decreased. The predictive power of models corresponding to the detrended measures was, however, weak. The results show in vivo VIA measurements to be useful in the estimation of muscle size, carcass conformation and composition, all of which are of significant importance to the pig production, marketing and processing industries.

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