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Dissecting total genetic variance into additive and dominance components of purebred and crossbred pig traits

  • L. Tusell (a1), H. Gilbert (a1), Z. G. Vitezica (a1), M. J. Mercat (a2), A. Legarra (a1) and C. Larzul (a1)...


The partition of the total genetic variance into its additive and non-additive components can differ from trait to trait, and between purebred and crossbred populations. A quantification of these genetic variance components will determine the extent to which it would be of interest to account for dominance in genomic evaluations or to establish mate allocation strategies along different populations and traits. This study aims at assessing the contribution of the additive and dominance genomic variances to the phenotype expression of several purebred Piétrain and crossbred (Piétrain × Large White) pig performances. A total of 636 purebred and 720 crossbred male piglets were phenotyped for 22 traits that can be classified into six groups of traits: growth rate and feed efficiency, carcass composition, meat quality, behaviour, boar taint and puberty. Additive and dominance variances estimated in univariate genotypic models, including additive and dominance genotypic effects, and a genomic inbreeding covariate allowed to retrieve the additive and dominance single nucleotide polymorphism variances for purebred and crossbred performances. These estimated variances were used, together with the allelic frequencies of the parental populations, to obtain additive and dominance variances in terms of genetic breeding values and dominance deviations. Estimates of the Piétrain and Large White allelic contributions to the crossbred variance were of about the same magnitude in all the traits. Estimates of additive genetic variances were similar regardless of the inclusion of dominance. Some traits showed relevant amount of dominance genetic variance with respect to phenotypic variance in both populations (i.e. growth rate 8%, feed conversion ratio 9% to 12%, backfat thickness 14% to 12%, purebreds-crossbreds). Other traits showed higher amount in crossbreds (i.e. ham cut 8% to 13%, loin 7% to 16%, pH semimembranosus 13% to 18%, pH longissimus dorsi 9% to 14%, androstenone 5% to 13% and estradiol 6% to 11%, purebreds-crossbreds). It was not encountered a clear common pattern of dominance expression between groups of analysed traits and between populations. These estimates give initial hints regarding which traits could benefit from accounting for dominance for example to improve genomic estimated breeding value accuracy in genetic evaluations or to boost the total genetic value of progeny by means of assortative mating.


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