Goettingen minipigs are laboratory animals with an increasing demand over the last few years. At the moment, Goettingen minipigs are not selected for a low reactivity to humans and this trait is not included in the breeding programme. However, it is obvious that there is a need for genetically non-responding minipigs during handling to facilitate the treatment and restraint of the animals which is often needed in biomedical experiments. A first testing scheme was developed to evaluate the reactivity of Goettingen minipigs to humans and to analyse whether the trait reactivity to humans can be considered in the breeding programme. In this study temperament scores of this testing scheme for nine different traits from 10,033 animals collected from 2005 to 2008 were analysed. Temperament was subjectively scored on a scale from 1 to 5 while the pig is caught (C), held on the arms (A), standing in a box for weighing (W), standing on a table (T) and walking on the ground (G). The traits were a combination of these situations evaluated at three different ages (2, 4 and 6 months). Genetic parameters were estimated using bivariate models and different possible selection strategies were examined. Heritabilities were low to moderate with a range from 0.09 to 0.22 and phenotypic and genetic correlations between the nine traits were moderate to high with phenotypic correlations between 0.12 (W2 and G4) and 0.64 (W2 and A2) and genetic correlations between 0.44 (A4 and C6) and 1.00 (e.g. W2 and A4). It was shown that the highest genetic progress per year can be obtained when all nine traits are considered in the selection index. Under an economical point of view the selection on the basis of the two arm traits plus the trait W2 should be preferred. Based on a critical discussion of the explanatory power of the used scoring system a new evaluation scheme was developed. In this scheme the minipigs can be divided into responding and non-responding animals whereas the latter are desired for selection. The suggested scoring system offers better possibilities for statistical analyses. It is planned to include the selection for non-responding Goettingen minipigs in the routine breeding programme.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Gottingen, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 3, 37075 Gottingen, Germany. email@example.com|
|Cite this work||
Researchers should cite this work as follows: