Social Genetic Effects for Litter Size of Sows Housed in Groups During Gestation

Friday, August 22, 2014: 2:00 PM
Bayshore Grand Ballroom A (The Westin Bayshore)
Kim L Bunter , Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit, UNE, Armidale, Australia
Abstract Text: Litter size data (N=7152 sows with 8787 records) were used to estimate breeding values under a model fitting both additive and social genetic effects. Sows were penned into 1504 groups (2 to 10 sows/group) during gestation. Seven subsets of data containing a single record per sow were created for re-estimating breeding values. Variance ratios for social genetic effects (s2) and non-genetic group effects (g2) were very low (s2≤ 0.009 and g2≤ 0.04) compared to corresponding estimates of heritability (h2≤ 0.21). Correlations between breeding values averaged across subsets were 0.19 and 0.09 for additive and social genetic effects. Social genetic effects for total litter size were lowly reproducible for sows across different groups. Breeding values from models fitting social genetic effects better described mean phenotypic performance of groups than did breeding values from additive models without social genetic effects.