Genetic analysis of novel behaviour traits in pigs derived from Social Network Analysis

Saif Agha*, Simone Foister, R Roehe, SP Turner, A Doeschl-Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Social network analysis (SNA) has provided novel traits that describe the role of individual pigs in aggression. The objectives were to (1) estimate the genetic parameters for these SNA traits, (2) quantify the genetic association between SNA and skin lesion traits, and (3) investigate the possible response to selection for SNA traits on skin lesion traits. Pigs were video recorded for 24 h post-mixing. The observed fight and bullying behaviour of each animal was used as input for the SNA. Skin lesions were counted on different body parts at 24 h (SL24h) and 3 weeks (SL3wk) post-mixing. A Bayesian approach estimated the genetic parameters of SNA traits and their association with skin lesions. SNA traits were heritable (h2 = 0.09 to 0.26) and strongly genetically correlated (rg > 0.88). Positive genetic correlations were observed between all SNA traits and anterior SL24h, except for clustering coefficient. Our results suggest that selection for an index that combines the eigenvector centrality and clustering coefficient could potentially decrease SL24h and SL3wk compared to selection for each trait separately. This study provides a first step towards potential integration of SNA traits into a multi-trait selection index for improving pigs’ welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Article number561
Issue number4
Early online date23 Mar 2022
Publication statusFirst published - 23 Mar 2022


  • aggressiveness
  • genetic parameters
  • pigs
  • social network analysis
  • welfare


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