The globalization of animal breeding programs means that selecting for animals that maintain high productivity across varying environments may be beneficial. One way this can be achieved is through selection for lower environmental sensitivity. Reaction norm models can be used to estimate environmental sensitivity caused by measurable differences in environment (macro environments). The aim of this study was to investigate the magnitude of macro-environmental sensitivity in average daily body weight gain in Danish Duroc pigs. The heterogeneity of residual variance across herds was also examined. Genetic parameter estimation was done in a Bayesian setting, for simultaneous estimation of the environmental values and covariates, considering heterogeneous residual variance. A univariate reaction norm model was developed for males and females separately. Significant macro-environmental sensitivity was found for both males and females. The posterior mean for additive genetic variance and heritability increased with increased environmental deviation. The posterior mean for the correlation between the additive genetic variance at different environmental gradients decreased with increasing deviations between the environments. Using the reaction norm model enables selection for animals with lower macro-environmental sensitivity. Keywords: macro-environmental sensitivity, reaction norm, Bayesian analysis, heterogeneous residual variance

Mette Dam Madsen, Per Madsen, Bjarne Nielsen, Torsten Nygaard Kristensen, Just Jensen, Mahmoud Shirali

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Electronic Poster Session - Challenges - Genotype by Environment Interactions, , 516, 2018
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