Genetic associations of novel behaviour traits derived from social network analysis with growth, feed efficiency, and carcass characteristics in pigs

Saif Agha*, SP Turner, Craig Lewis, S Desire, R Roehe, A Doeschl-Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Reducing harmful aggressive behaviour remains a major challenge in pig production. Social network analysis (SNA) showed the potential in providing novel behavioural traits that describe the direct and indirect role of individual pigs in pen-level aggression. Our objectives were to (1) estimate the genetic parameters of these SNA traits, and (2) quantify the genetic associations between the SNA traits and commonly used performance measures: growth, feed intake, feed efficiency, and carcass traits. The animals were video recorded for 24 h post-mixing. The observed fighting behaviour of each animal was used as input for the SNA. A Bayesian approach was performed to estimate the genetic parameters of SNA traits and their association with the performance traits. The heritability estimates for all SNA traits ranged from 0.01 to 0.35. The genetic correlations between SNA and performance traits were non-significant, except for weighted degree with hot carcass weight, and for both betweenness and closeness centrality with test daily gain, final body weight, and hot carcass weight. Our results suggest that SNA traits are amenable for selective breeding. Integrating these traits with other behaviour and performance traits may potentially help in building up future strategies for simultaneously improving welfare and performance in commercial pig farms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1616
JournalGenes
Volume13
Issue number9
Early online date8 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusFirst published - 8 Sep 2022

Keywords

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

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