Estimates of genetic parameters in Danish White rabbits using an animal model: I. Growth and carcass traits


  • G. Su Danish Institute of Agricultural Science
  • J.B. Kjaer Danish Institute of Agricultural Science
  • U.T. Brenoe Norwegian Agricultural University
  • P. Sorensen Danish Institute of Agricultural Science



Growth data from 2033 individuals and carcass data from 1386 individuals representing 3 Danish rabbit lines were analysed to draw inferences on genetic parameters, using restricted maximum likelihood (REML) procedures based on animal models. In the models, birth year, season, line, parity, sex, litter size at weaning and slaughter age were treated as fixed effects, individual additive genetic and litter were taken as random effects. Litter effects in proportion of phenotypic variance were 0.60, 0.32 and 0.19 for daily gain during pre-weaning (DG1-35), daily gain during the period from weaning to 90 days (DG36-90), and daily gain during the whole period from birth to 90 days (DG1-90), respectively, and ranged from 0.08 to 0.17 for carcass traits. Heritability estimates were 0.16, 0.17, 0.31 for DG1-35, DG36-90, and DG1-90, respectively; and 0.17, 0.26, 0.10, 0.10 and 0.09 for carcass yield, carcass length, back score, thigh score and fat score, respectively. Genetic correlations between daily gains were positiva and strong, and genetic correlations between daily gains and carcass traits (except for carcass yield) were favourable. Based on these estimates, selection for DG1-90 would effectively improve not only growth rates during both pre­weaning and during post-weaning periods but also carcass quality.


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