Selection for increased litter size in swine has potentially resulted in a correlated increase in preweaning mortality. Additional selection criteria should be considered when selecting for increased litter size to account for associated decreases in piglet quality, specifically piglet survival, initial weight and growth. Traits such as gestation length (GL), which have been associated with piglet performance, could be utilized to improve piglet development and survivability. The objective of this study was to conduct a genome-wide association study to identify genomic regions associated with GL in differing parities in swine (n = 831) from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln reproductive longevity project. Gestation length was calculated as the number of days between last insemination administered and farrowing. Sows were genotyped with the Illumina SNP60 BeadArray, and the data were analyzed using Bayesian mixture models for GL at parity 1, 2, 3 and 4 (GL1, GL2, GL3 and GL4 respectively). Means (SD) for GL1–GL4 were 113 (1.4), 114 (1.2), 114 (1.3) and 115 (1.2) respectively. Posterior mean heritability estimates (PSD) for GL1, GL2, GL3 and GL4 were 0.33 (0.06), 0.34 (0.07), 0.32 (0.08) and 0.20 (0.08) respectively. Rank correlations between genomic estimated breeding values between GL1 and GL2, GL3 and GL4 respectively were moderate: 0.67, 0.65 and 0.60. The top SNP (ASGA0017859, SSC4, 7.8 Mb), located in the top common genomic region associated with GL1, GL2 and GL3, was associated with a difference of 1.1 days in GL1 between homozygote genotypes (P < 0.0001). The results of this study suggest that GL is a largely polygenic trait with relatively minor contributions from multiple genomic regions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology