Selection for ovulation rate in rabbits: Genetics parameters and correlated responses on survival rates.

Autores UPV
Revista Journal of Animal Science


The aim of this work was to evaluate the correlated responses on survival rates after 10 generations of selection for ovulation rate (OR). Selection was based on the phenotypic value of ovulation rate estimated at d 12 of second gestation by laparoscopy. Traits recorded were litter size (LS), estimated as total number of rabbits born per litter in up to 5 parities; OR, estimated as the number of corpora lutea in both ovaries; the number of implanted embryos (IE), estimated as the number of implantation sites; the number of right and left IE (RIE and LIE); ovulatory difference (OD), defined as the difference between the right and the left OR, expressed as an absolute value; implantatory difference (ID), defined as the difference between RIE and LIE, expressed as an absolute value; embryonic survival (ES), calculated as IE/OR; fetal survival (FS), calculated as LS/IE; prenatal survival (PS), calculated as LS/OR. A total of 1,081 records were used to analyze ES, and 770 were used to analyze FS and PS. The number of records used to analyze the other traits ranged from 1,079 for ID to 3,031 for LS. Data were analyzed using Bayesian methodology. Genetic parameters of OR, OD, and LS were estimated in a previous paper. Estimated heritabilities of IE, ID, ES, FS, and PS were 0.11, 0.03, 0.09, 0.24, and 0.14, respectively. Estimated repeatabilities of IE, ID, and ES were 0.22, 0.12, and 0.20. Estimated phenotypic correlations of OR with ES, FS, and PS were −0.07, −0.26, and −0.28, respectively. Their estimated genetic correlations with FS and PS were negative (probability of being negative 1.00 and 0.98, respectively). Nothing can be said about the sign of the genetic correlation between OR and ES. Ovulation rate was phenotypically uncorrelated with ID. Their estimated genetic correlation was positive (probability of being positive 0.91). The genetic correlation of ID with PS and LS was not accurately estimated. Phenotypic and genetic correlations between LS and survival rates were positive (probability of being positive 1.00). In 10 generations of selection, FS decreased around 1% per generation. No correlated response in ES was observed. In summary, the decrease in FS in rabbits selected for OR seemed to be responsible for the lack of correlated response observed in LS.