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Impact of environmental disturbances on estimated genetic parameters and breeding values for growth traits in pigs

Abstract : Due to the diversification of farming systems and climate change, farm animals are exposed to environmental disturbances to which they respond differently depending on their robustness. Disturbances such as heat stress or sanitary challenges (not always recorded, especially when they are of short duration and low intensity) have a transitory impact on animals, resulting in changes in phenotypes of production (feed intake, BW, etc.). The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of such unknown disturbances on the estimated genetic parameters and breeding values (BV) for production traits. A population of 6 120 individuals over five generations divided into eight batches of 10 pens was generated, each individual underwent an expressionpproximexpressiontely equexpressionl to 100-day test period. A longitudinal phenotype mimicking piglet weight during the fattening period was simulated for each individual in two situations: disturbed and non-disturbed. The disturbed phenotype was modified according to the robustness of the animal and the intensity and duration of the disturbance that the animal was subjected to. Various sets of simulations (1 000 replicates per set) were considered depending on the type of disturbance (at the level of the batch, pen, or individual), the genetic correlation (negative, neutral, or positive) between the two components of the robustness (resistance and resilience), the genetic correlation (negative, neutral, or positive) between growth and the components of robustness, and the heritability of the components of robustness (weak or moderate). An animal model was used to estimate the genetic parameters and BV for two production traits: the BW at 100 days of age (BW100) and average daily gain (ADG). The estimated heritability of the production traits was lower in the disturbed situation compared to the non-disturbed one (reduction of 0.08 and 0.05 points respectively for BW100 and ADG). The correlations between estimated breeding values of the observed phenotypes (EBV) and BV for production traits in absence of disturbance were lower in the disturbed situation (reduction of 0.04 and 0.06 points for BW100 and ADG respectively) while the partial correlation between EBV and BV for robustness was not significantly different from 0 in the two situations. These results suggest that selection in a well-controlled environment with random disturbances of low intensities does not allow to improve animal robustness while it is less effective for improving production traits than selection under no environmental disturbances. (C)& nbsp;2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Animal Consortium.
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Vincent Le, Tom Rohmer, Ingrid David. Impact of environmental disturbances on estimated genetic parameters and breeding values for growth traits in pigs. Animal, Published by Elsevier (since 2021) / Cambridge University Press (until 2020), 2022, 16 (4), 9 p. ⟨10.1016/j.animal.2022.100496⟩. ⟨hal-03653106⟩

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