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5 December 2019 Genetic correlations for reproductive and growth traits in rabbits
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The objective of this study was to obtain heritability estimates for reproductive (litter size at birth, number born alive, litter size at weaning) and growth traits (individual weaning weight, individual weight at the end of the fattening period), then determine the genetic correlation between them in a synthetic rabbit line. A total of 805 females, 3242 parities, and 18 472 growth records were measured from 2006 to 2017. A pentavariate animal model was used with reproductive and growth traits. Heritability ranged from 0.025 to 0.126 for reproductive traits and from 0.033 to 0.059 for growth traits. These traits showed a large coefficient of variation (from 32% to 56% for reproductive traits and from 21% to 28% for growth traits). The repeatability of reproductive traits was low and the common litter effect for growth traits was the most important component of total variance. The genetic and phenotypic correlations between reproductive and growth traits were high and negative, especially with weight at weaning (-0.848, -0.922, and -0.854 for litter size at birth, number born alive, and litter size at weaning, respectively). In conclusion, because of the high negative correlation between reproductive and growth traits, both reproductive and growth traits should be selected in independent lines and the response to selection should be due mainly to the high coefficient of variation of the traits.

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Rym Ezzeroug, Rafik Belabbas, Maria José Argente, Ali Berbar, Samir Diss, Zoulikha Boudjella, Djamal Talaziza, Nassima Boudahdir, and Maria de la Luz García "Genetic correlations for reproductive and growth traits in rabbits," Canadian Journal of Animal Science 100(2), 317-322, (5 December 2019).
Received: 3 March 2019; Accepted: 14 November 2019; Published: 5 December 2019

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