Estimation of Genetic Parameters from Longitudinal Records of Body Weight of Berkshire Pigs

  • Lee, Dong-Hee (Department of Life Sciences, University of Seoul) ;
  • Do, Chang-Hee (Department of Life Sciences, University of Seoul)
  • Received : 2011.12.17
  • Accepted : 2012.03.02
  • Published : 2012.06.01


Direct and maternal genetic heritabilities and their correlations with body weight at 5 stages in the life span of purebred Berkshire pigs, from birth to harvest, were estimated to scrutinize body weight development with the records for 5,088 purebred Berkshire pigs in a Korean farm, using the REML based on an animal model. Body weights were measured at birth (Birth), at weaning (Weaning: mean 22.9 d), at the beginning of a performance test (On: mean 72.7 d), at the end of a performance test (Off: mean 152.4 d), and at harvest (Finish: mean 174.3 d). Ordinary polynomials and Legendre with order 1, 2, and 3 were adopted to adjust body weight with age in the multivariate animal models. Legendre with order 3 fitted best concerning prediction error deviation (PED) and yielded the lowest AIC for multivariate analysis of longitudinal body weights. Direct genetic correlations between body weight at Birth and body weight at Weaning, On, Off, and Finish were 0.48, 0.36, 0.10, and 0.10, respectively. The estimated maternal genetic correlations of body weight at Finish with body weight at Birth, Weaning, On, and Off were 0.39, 0.49, 0.65, and 0.90, respectively. Direct genetic heritabilities progressively increased from birth to harvest and were 0.09, 0.11, 0.20, 0.31, and 0.43 for body weight at Birth, Weaning, On, Off, and Finish, respectively. Maternal genetic heritabilities generally decreased and were 0.26, 0.34, 0.15, 0.10, and 0.10 for body weight at Birth, Weaning, On, Off, and Finish, respectively. As pigs age, maternal genetic effects on growth are reduced and pigs begin to rely more on the expression of their own genes. Although maternal genetic effects on body weight may not be large, they are sustained through life.


  1. Akaike, H. 1973. Information theory and an extension of the maximum likelihood principle. 2nd Int. Symp. Information Therory (Ed. B. N. Petrov and F Csaki) Akademiai Kiado, Budapest, Hungary.
  2. Bayin, S. S. 2006. Mathematical Methods in Science and Engineering, Wiley, Chapter 2.
  3. Carney, E. E., H. Tran, J. W. Bundy, R. Moreno, P. S. Miller and T. E. Bu rky. 2009. Effect of dam parity on growth performance and immunity of weaned pigs. Nebraska Swine Reports. 2009:29-32.
  4. Coffey, R. D., G. R. Parker and K. M. Laurent. 1995. Feeding growing-finishing pigs to maximize lean growth rate. University of Kentucky, Lexington, and Kentucky State University, Frankfort. Cooperative Extension Service. ASC-147.
  5. Do, C. H. 2007. Estimation of growth traits using growth curve in Gyungnam-heugdon (Berkshire). J. Anim. Sci. Technol. (Korea) 49:195-202.
  6. Fix, J. S., J. P. Cassady, J. W. Holl, W. O. Herring, M. S. Culbertson and M. T. See. 2010. Effect of birth weight on survival and quality of commercial market swine. Livest. Sci. 132:98-106.
  7. Kachman, S. D. and L. D. Van Vleck. 2007. Technical Note: Calculation of standard errors of estimates of genetic parameters with the multiple-trait derivative-free restricted maximal likelihood programs. J. Anim. Sci. 85:2375-2381.
  8. Kim, H. S., B. W. Kim, H. Y. Kim, H. T. Iim, H. S. Yang, J. I. Lee, Y. K. Joo, C. H. Do, S. T. Joo, J. T. Jeon and J. G. Lee. 2007. Estimation of terminal sire effect on swine growth and meat quality traits. J. Anim. Sci. Technol. (Korea) 49:161-170.
  9. Kohn, A. F., R. Sharifi and H. Simianer. 2007. Modeling the growth of the Goettingen minipig. J. Anim. Sci. 85:84-92.
  10. Mahan, D. C. and A. J. Lepine. 1991. Effect of pig weaning weight and associated nursery feeding programs on subsequent performance to 105 kilograms body weight. J. Anim. Sci. 69:1370-1378.
  11. Main, R. G., S. S. Dritz, M. D. Tokach, R. D. Goodband and J. L. Nelssen. 2004. Increasing weaning age improve pig performance in a multisite production system. J. Anim. Sci. 82:1499-1507.
  12. Meyer, K. 1992. Bias and sampling covariances of estimates of variance components due to maternal effects. Genet. Sel. Evol. 24:487-509.
  13. Meyer, K. 2010. WOMBAT: A program for mixed model analyses by restricted maximum likelihood. km/homepage.php
  14. Margit, M., K. Nass and S. Nass. 1963. Intramitochondrial fibers with DNA characteristics I. Fixation and electron staining reactions. J. Cell Biol. 19:593-611.
  15. Rohatgi, V. K. 1976. An introduction to probability theory and mathematical statistics. John Wiley and Sons. New York. Chapter 8.
  16. Rosendo, A., L. Canario, T. Druet, J. Gogue and J. P. Bidanel. 2007. Correlated responses of pre- and post- weaning growth and backfat thickness to six generations of selection for ovulation rate or prenatal survival in French Large White pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 85:3209-3217.
  17. Satoh, M., C. Hick, K. Ishii and T. Frukawa. 2002. Choice of statistical model for estimating genetic parameters using restricted maximum likelihood in swine. J. Anim. Breed. Genet. 119:285-296.
  18. Solanes, F. X., K. Grandinson, L. Rydhmer, S. Stern, K. Andersson and N. Lundeheim. 2004. Direct and maternal influences on the early growth, fattening performance, and carcass traits of pigs. Livest. Prod. Sci. 88:199-212.
  19. Smith, A. L., K. J. Stalder, T. V. Serenius, T. J. Baas and J. W. Mabry. 2007. Effect of piglet birth weight on weights at weaning and 42 days post weaning. J. Swine Health Prod. 15:213-218.
  20. Tomiyama, M., T. Oikawa, M. A. Hoque, T. Kanetani and H. Mori. 2009. Influence of early postweaning traits on genetic improvement of meat productivity in purebred Berkshire pigs. J. Anim. Sci. 87:1613-1619.
  21. Tomiyama, M., T. Kanetani, Y. Tatsukawa, H. Mori and T. Oikawa. 2010. Genetic parameters for preweaning and early growth traits in Berkshire pigs when creep feeding is used. J. Anim. Sci. 88:879-884.
  22. Willham, R. L. 1972. The role of maternal effects in animal breeding: III. Biometrical aspects of maternal effects in animals. J. Anim. Sci. 35:1288-1293.