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Correlated responses on litter size traits and survival traits after two-stage selection for ovulation rate and litter size in rabbits

  • A. Y. Badawy (a1), R. Peiró (a1), A. Blasco (a1) and M. A. Santacreu (a1)

Abstract

Farmer profit depends on the number of slaughter rabbits. The improvement of litter size (LS) at birth by two-stage selection for ovulation rate (OR) and LS could modify survival rate from birth to slaughter. This study was aiming to estimate direct and correlated response on LS traits and peri- and postnatal survival traits in the OR_LS rabbit line selected first only for OR (first period) and then for OR and LS using independent culling levels (second period). The studied traits were OR, LS measured as number of total born, number of kits born alive (NBA) and dead (NBD), and number of kits at weaning (NW) and young rabbits at slaughter (NS). Prenatal survival (LS/OR) and survival at birth (NBA/LS), at weaning (NW/NBA) and at slaughter (NS/NW) were also studied. Data were analysed using Bayesian inference methods. Heritability for LS traits were low, 0.07 for NBA, NW and NS. Survival traits had low values of heritability 0.07, 0.03 and 0.03 for NBA/LS, NW/NBA and NS/NW, respectively. After six generations of selection by OR (first period), a small increase in NBD and a slight decrease in NBA/LS were found. However, no correlated responses on NW/NBA and NS/NW were observed. After 11 generations of two-stage selection for OR and LS (second period), correlated responses on NBA, NW and NS were 0.12, 0.12 and 0.11 kits per generation, respectively, whereas no substantial modifications on NBA/LS, NW/NBA and NS/NW were found. In conclusion, two-stage selection improves the number of young rabbits at slaughter without modifying survival from birth to slaughter.

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Corresponding author

Footnotes

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a

Present address: Animal Production Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt.

b

Present address: Instituto de Conservación y Mejora de la Agrodiversidad Valenciana, Universitat Politècnica de València.

Footnotes

References

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