Breeding & Genetics

Leader: Catherine Larzul, INRA, France

Vice leader: Maren Van Son, Norsvin, Norway

Core group: Yelyzaveta Oliinychenko, Raffael Wesoly, Luca Fontanesi, Ernst Tholen


Overall objectives


Breeding programmes for meat production systems with EM or IC

  • To reduce the incidence of boar taint more efficiently. The challenge is to identify more specific markers or candidate genes that have no side effects on performance and reproduction.
  • To address the meat quality problems associated with entire EM. The aim is to investigate the genetic relationships between meat quality traits, boar taint and performance.
  • To reduce aggressive and sexual behaviour. The aim is to estimate the genetic parameters for relevant behavioural traits to include them in selection indexes.

Lines of pigs that are well-suited for EM production are crucial for the new production systems. IPEMA will gather information regarding markers or candidate genes, which efficiently reduce boar taint and that have no negative side effects on performance and reproduction. Additionally possible genetic parameters for relevant behavioural traits are investigated to reduce aggressive and sexual behaviour. To address the meat quality problems associated with EM, the genetic relationships between these traits, boar taint and performance will be studied; specific aspects of local breeds will be assessed.


Subtasks WG 1

  • Expression of full boar taint potential for selection purpose: Androstenone (in relation with WG4) and skatole (in relation to WG2). Use of feeding to increase skatole in order to study effect on liver enzymes, and use of hCG and/or GnRH to increase androstenone and testosterone in order to identify genes and enzymes involved.
  • Relationship with other traits focusing on meat quality (in relation with WG5), reproduction (in relation with WG3) and behavior (in relation with WG3). Productivity in general should also be included. Health, robustness and immunity were suggested, but they are very difficult to measure and we do not know if we have data here. For all traits, investigate correlations also with specific causal mutations, which will be common across all breeds and lines.
  • Implementation of genomic selection.


Specific Objectives for the second Grant Period (May 2017 - April 2018)

  • Identification of approaches for standardization of test conditions to improve prediction of boar taint potential to work on recommendations for rearing conditions in breeding programmes (together with WG 2 - Nutrition and WG 3 - Management and Housing)
  • Evaluation of approaches to include behavioural traits into breeding programmes