Changes in Reproductive Traits of Large White Pigs after Estrogen Receptor Gene-based Selection in Slovakia: Preliminary Results

  • Chvojkova, Zuzana (Department of Botany and Genetics, Constantine the Philosopher University) ;
  • Hraska, S. (Department of Botany and Genetics, Constantine the Philosopher University)
  • Received : 2007.05.04
  • Accepted : 2007.09.09
  • Published : 2008.03.01


We investigated the effect of ESR gene-based selection on an improvement of litter size in the herds in real (non-experimental) conditions. The pigs were selected for three years. In the tested population the pigs were mated according to a breeding scheme where the individuals with at least one ESR-B allele were preferred in the selection. In the control group (CP; n = 140) the pigs were mated just according to a breeding scheme without knowledge of the ESR genotype. We observed a significant increase in litter size (total number of born, number of born alive and number of weaned piglets per litter) in the final tested ESR-selected population (LP; n = 184) and an insignificant increase in CP as compared with the original population (OP; n = 155). After the selection we could observe a significant increase in the frequency of allele B in LP. Frequency of the genotypes AB and BB increased in both LP and CP; the distribution of the genotypes changed significantly only in LP. An association analysis of the ESR gene effects on reproductive traits in LP showed no significant differences between the genotypes. The results of our study suggest that ESR gene-based selection can be successful also in small herds, under real (non-experimental) conditions with a respect for general breeding principles and limitations and during a short period. An examination of a larger sample population as well as an analysis of selection consequences on other traits (meat and carcass quality) could bring a more conclusive evaluation of ESR-based selection. Nevertheless, the results are encouraging especially for small breeding farms taking a perspective of better litter size improvement.


ESR Gene;Litter Size;Pigs;Selection


Supported by : Ministry of Education, Slovakia


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