MacNeil, M. D. and Kemp, R. A. 2015. Genetic parameter estimation and evaluation of Duroc boars for feed efficiency and component traits. Can. J. Anim. Sci. 95: 155-159. The objective of this research was to produce a genetic evaluation for traits related to feed efficiency of Duroc boars. Meeting this objective required partitioning phenotypic (co)variance into additive genetic and environmental components for feed intake and traits indicative of growth and body composition. Boars (N=3291) were housed in group pens of 22 to 24 animals with two electronic feeders per pen and feed intake was recorded for 8 to 14 wk. Body weight was recorded for each boar at the start and end of test, at approximately 100 kg and at up to three times during the test. The pedigree used contained sire and dam of each boar with at least one recorded phenotype (N=4651) and their maternal and paternal grandsires. Variance components were estimated by restricted maximum likelihood for animal models in a series of uni-variate and bi-variate analyses. Two multiple trait genetic evaluations were conducted to predict estimated breeding value for feed intake using animal models. The first evaluation included feed intake (h2=0.33±0.05), age at 100 kg (h2=0.31±0.04), and subcutaneous fat depth (h2=0.47±0.05). The second genetic evaluation included feed intake, average daily gain (h2=0.27±0.04), mid-test weight (h2=0.33±0.05), and subcutaneous fat depth. Genetic correlations of feed intake with age at 100 kg and fat depth were -0.80±0.05 and 0.57±0.08, respectively. Estimated breeding values for measures of feed efficiency (residual feed intake and residual gain) were calculated from the results of the second analysis and the associated additive genetic (co)variance components.
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Vol. 95 • No. 2