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Genetic analysis of reactivity to humans in Goettingen minipigs

By F. Kohn, A. R. Sharifi, H. Simianer

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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.

Date 2009
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 120
Issue 1/2
Pages 68-75
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2009.05.006
Language English
Author Address Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, University of Gottingen, Albrecht-Thaer-Weg 3, 37075 Gottingen, Germany.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Analysis
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal genetics
  4. Animal reproduction
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Breeding
  7. Breeding program
  8. Cleaning
  9. Evaluation
  10. Genetic correlations
  11. Genetic parameters
  12. Genetics
  13. Handling
  14. Laboratory and experimental animals
  15. Laboratory animal science
  16. Mammals
  17. Meat animals
  18. models
  19. peer-reviewed
  20. phenotypes
  21. Pigs
  22. Primates
  23. restraint
  24. scoring systems
  25. Selection
  26. Swine
  27. temperament
  28. traits
  1. peer-reviewed