A significant relationship between the oestrogen receptor gene (ESR) and litter size has been detected in USA populations of Large White and a synthetic comprising 50% Meishan (Rothschild et al., 1995). Animals carrying two copies of the favourable allele (B) had an extra pig born per litter than those that did not have the allele. This paper reports on results observed in a UK 50% Meishan synthetic and four UK Large White lines.
Litter size data from 50% Meishan synthetic (L93) full-sib females where more than one ESR genotype was segregating. Data were analysed using a mixed model with full relationships and including the fixed effects of season of farrowing, parity, ESR genotype (AA, AB or BB) and service type (AI or natural service). Heritiability and permanent environmental effects for litter size were assumed as 0.09 and 0.11, repectively. A total of 27 full-sib families were represented and included 62 sows and 139 litter records. Hypothesis testing used the option in PEST under a mixed model (Groeneveld et al., 1991).