Divergent selection for fat index in Pannon Ka rabbits: genetic parameters, selection response
The objective of this study was to estimate the response to selection for total body fat content of rabbits measured by computer tomography (CT). A divergent selection experiment was performed using Pannon Ka rabbits, which were previously selected for number of kits born alive. The so-called zero generation consisted of 351 Pannon Ka rabbits, from which the index, total body fat volume (cm3) divided by the body weight (kg), was measured. Rabbits with low and high fat index values were selected to form the parent groups of the lean and fat lines, respectively. The lines consisted of 55-72 females and 35-47 males, depending on the line and generation. After three generations, the rabbits were evaluated by means of a single trait animal model. The fat index showed a moderate heritability estimate (0.28±0.03). The magnitude of the common litter effect was small (0.10±0.02). The breeding values averaged per generation provided slightly asymmetrical responses. Based on the results, the divergent selection was successful in confirming that CT is a very suitable method for performing selection for body composition traits.
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