Animal selection for genetic improvement of productivity may lead to an increase in inbreeding through the use of techniques that enhance the reproductive capability of selected animals. Therefore, breeding strategies aim to balance maintaining genetic variability and acceptable fitness levels with increasing productivity. The present study demonstrates the effectiveness of genomic-based optimum contribution strategies at addressing this objective when fitness and productivity are genetically antagonistic traits. Strategies are evaluated in directional selection (increasing productivity) or conservation (maintaining fitness) scenarios. In the former case, substantial rates of genetic gain can be achieved while greatly constraining the rate of increase in inbreeding. Under a conservation approach, inbreeding depression can be effectively halted while also achieving a modest rate of genetic gain for productivity. Furthermore, the use of optimum contribution strategies when combined with a simple non-random mating scheme (minimum kinship method) showed an additional delay in the increase of inbreeding in the short term. In conclusion, genomic-based optimum contribution methods can be effectively used to control inbreeding and inbreeding depression, and still allow genetic gain for productivity traits even when fitness and productivity are antagonistically correlated.
- Genomic selection
- Optimum contribution