Genetic and non-genetic factors affecting rabbit doe sexual receptivity as estimated from one generation of divergent selection
Sexual receptivity of rabbit does at insemination greatly influences fertility and is generally induced by hormones or techniques known as “biostimulation”. Searching for more sustainable farming systems, an original alternative would be to utilise the genetic pathway to increase the does’receptivity. The purpose of the present study was to identify genetic and non-genetic factors that influence rabbit doe sexual receptivity, in the context of a divergent selection experiment over 1 generation. The experiment spanned 2 generations: the founder generation (G0) consisting of 140 rabbit does, and the G1 generation comprising 2 divergently selected lines (L and H lines) with 70 does each and 2 successive batches from each generation. The selection rate of the G0 females to form the G1 lines was 24/140. The selection tests consisted of 16 to 18 successive receptivity tests at the rate of 3 tests per week. On the basis of 4716 tests from 275 females, the average receptivity was 56.6±48.2%. A batch effect and a test operator effect were revealed. The contribution of females to the total variance was 20.0%, whereas that of bucks was only 1.1%. Throughout the experiment, 18.2% of does expressed a low receptivity (< 34%), 50.7% a medium one and 33.1% a high one (>66%). Some does were frequently receptive, whereas others were rarely receptive. The repeatability of sexual receptivity was approximately 20%. The results confirmed the high variability of sexual receptivity of non-lactating rabbit does maintained without any biostimulation or hormonal treatment. A lack of selection response on receptivity was observed. Accordingly, the heritability of receptivity was estimated at 0.01±0.02 from an animal model and at 0.02±0.03 from a sire and dam model. The heritability of the average receptivity of a doe was calculated as 0.04. In agreement with the low estimated heritability, the heritability determined was no different from zero. Nevertheless, the occurrence of pseudopregnancies due to uncontrolled ovulations and the presence of corpora lutea, as assessed by progesterone titrations, could have interfered with receptivity. Further studies would be necessary to confirm the low heritability of female rabbit receptivity.
Boiti C., Ceccarelli P., Beghelli V., Daniotti P., Pennisi F. 1974. Messa a punto di un metodo per la determinazione radioimmunologica des progesterone plasmatico. Atti della Societa Italiana della Scienze Veterinarie, 28: 366-371.
Boiti C., Besenfelder U., Brecchia G., Theau-Clément M., Zerani M. 2006. Reproductive physiopathology of the rabbit doe. In Recent Advances in Rabbit Sciences (Maertens L, Coudert P), European cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research, Cost Action 848: “Multi-facetted research in rabbits: a model to develop a healthy and safe production in respect with animal welfare”, Valencia, Spain: 3,19.
Browning J.Y., Keyes P.L., Wolf R.C. 1980. Comparison of serum progesterone, 20 alpha-dihydroprogesterone, and estradiol-17 beta in pregnant and pseudopregnant rabbits: evidence for postimplantation recognition of pregnancy. Biol. Reprod., 23: 1014-1019. doi:10.1095/biolreprod23.5.1014
Gilmour A.R., Cullis B.R., Thompson R. 2009. ASReml User Guide Release 3.0. VSN International Ltd, Hemel Hempstead, UK.
Moret B. 1980. Comportement d’oestrus chez la lapine, Cuniculture, 33: 159-161.
Neumaier A., Groeneveld E. 1998. Restricted maximum likelihood estimation of covariances in sparse linear models. Genet. Sel. Evol., 30: 3-16. doi:10.1186/1297-9686-30-1-3
Piles M., Rafel O., Ramon J., Varona L. 2004. Genetic parameters of fertility in two lines of rabbits with different reproductive potential. J. Anim. Sci., 83: 340-343.
Renouf B., Klein S. 2008. Identification des pratiques gagnantes des éleveurs les plus productifs en maternité. Journée Nationale du lapin de chair, 25 novembre 2008, 53-62.
SAS Institute 2001. SAS/STAT User’s Guide (Release 8.02). SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA.
Theau-Clément M. 2008. Facteurs de réussite de l’insémination chez la lapine et méthodes d’induction de l’oestrus. INRA Prod. Anim., 21: 221-230.
Theau-Clément M., Bolet G., Fortun-Lamothe L., Brecchia G. and Boiti C. 2008. High plasmatic progesterone levels at insemination depress reproductive performance of rabbit does. In Proc.: 9th World Rabbit Congress, 10-13 June 2008, Verona, Italy, Index Reproduction: 459-463.
Theau-Clément M., Tircazes A., Saleil G., Monniaux D., Bodin L., Brun J.M. 2011. Etude préliminaire de la variabilité du comportement d’oestrus de la lapine. In Proc.: 13èmes Journées de la Recherche Cunicole, 22-23 novembre 2011, Le Mans, France: 69-72.
Theau-Clément M., Tircazes A., Saleil G., Monniaux D., Bodin L., Brun J.M. 2014. Preliminary study on the individual variability of the sexual behavior of rabbit does. Submitted to World Rabbit Sci.
Metrics powered by PLOS ALM
Cited-By (articles included in Crossref)
This journal is a Crossref Cited-by Linking member. This list shows the references that citing the article automatically, if there are. For more information about the system please visit Crossref site
1. A new parameter describing fertility in rabbits at the farm level: the kit index
Archives Animal Breeding vol: 61 issue: 4 first page: 463 year: 2018
Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)
© Universitat Politècnica de València. All rights reserved
© World Rabbit Science Associated. All rights reserved
e-ISSN: 1989-8886 ISSN: 1257-5011 https://doi.org/10.4995/wrs