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Genotype by environment interactions for performance and thermoregulation responses in growing pigs

Abstract : Heat stress affects pig health, welfare, and production, and thus the economic viability of the pig sector in many countries. Breeding for heat tolerance is a complex issue, increasingly important due to climate change and the development of pig production in tropical areas. Characterizing genetic determinism of heat tolerance would help building selection schemes dedicated to high performance in tropical areas. The main objective of our study was to estimate the genetic parameters for production and thermoregulation traits in two highly related growing pig populations reared in temperate (TEMP) or tropical humid (TROP) environment. Pigs came from a backcross population between Large White (LW, heat sensitive) and Creole (CR, heat tolerant) pigs. Phenotypic data were obtained on a total of 1,297 pigs using the same procedures in both environments, for body weight (BW, at weeks 11 and 23), daily feed intake (ADFI), backfat thickness (BFT, at weeks 19 and 23), cutaneous temperature (CT, at weeks 19 and 23), and rectal temperature (RT, at weeks 19, 21, and 23). Feed conversion ratio (FCR) and residual feed intake (RFI) were computed for the whole test period (11 to 23 wk). Criteria comparing the fits to the data revealed genotype × environment (G × E) interactions for most traits but not for FCR. The variance components were obtained using two different methods, a restricted maximum likelihood method and a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo method, considering that traits are either similar or different in each environment. Regardless of the method, heritability estimates for production traits were moderate to high, except for FCR (lower than 0.18). Heritability estimates for RT were low to moderate, ranging from 0.04 to 0.34. The genetic correlations of each trait between environments generally differed from 1, except for FCR and ADG. For most thermoregulation traits, they also did not differ significantly from zero, suggesting that the main genetic bases of heat tolerance may vary in different environment. Within environments, the unfavorable genetic correlations between production traits and RT suggest an antagonism between the ability to maintain inner temperature and the ability to increase ADFI and ADG. However, greater RT were also associated to leaner pigs and better feed efficiency. Nevertheless, due to large inaccuracies of these estimations, larger cohorts would be needed to decide about the best breeding schemes to choose for tropical pig production.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 25, 2020 - 4:41:10 PM
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Jean-Luc Gourdine, Juliette Riquet, Roseline Rose, Nausicaa Poullet, Mario Giorgi, et al.. Genotype by environment interactions for performance and thermoregulation responses in growing pigs. Journal of Animal Science, American Society of Animal Science, 2019, 97 (9), pp.3699-3713. ⟨10.1093/jas/skz245⟩. ⟨hal-02619314⟩



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