Selection against boar taint: a simulation study
- Dorothe Ducro-Steverink1
© Ducro-Steverink; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2006
Published: 30 August 2006
Quality of food in terms of health and taste has high standards in the Western society and consumers do not accept meat with an off-flavour. Therefore in most of Europe, castration of male pigs shortly after birth is done to prevent the production of meat with an unfavourable odour and flavour, the so called 'boar taint'. However, castration is a surgical intervention which is of growing concern in the society and becoming an issue for animal welfare.
Published heritability of boar taint and underlying components.
h2 (range in literature)
0.13 to 0.54
0.13 to 0.87
0.19 to 0.34
The goal of this study is to show, in a simulation study, the possibilities to select against boar taint.
Materials and methods
Purebred pig populations were simulated in the program SelAction .
h2 = 0.2, percentage boars with boar taint = 20%; group 22
h2 = 0.4, percentage boars with boar taint = 20%; group 42
h2 = 0.2, percentage boars with boar taint = 30%; group 23
h2 = 0.4, percentage boars with boar taint = 30%; group 43
The following assumptions were made: 5 years of selection, 500 sows, 30 breeding boars, 470 production boars, litterindex 2.2, 3500 boar piglets, selection on ADG (average daily gain) and BF (backfat), per year 75% culling (in the selection for breeding) because of other reasons (eg. exterior, inbreeding, etc). The selection trait is the odour detected by an electronic sensor or by a panel. Boar taint is a binomial trait with the variation = p * (1-p) in the population. Genetic correlations with production traits are assumed.
The percentage of boar taint can decrease with a maximum of 5.7%, 8.6%, 6.6% and 7.5% in the first year of selection for the populations 22, 42, 23 and 43, respectively.
Conclusion and Discussion
This simulation study shows that it is possible to select against boar taint.
This simulation is done in 1 population but slaughter pigs are a combination of 3 to 4 lines. Therefore, selection should take place in all lines; this will increase the cost of selection against boar taint. Correlated response on reproductive traits was ignored.
This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.