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See detailAn integration of external information for foreign stallions into the Belgian genetic evaluation for jumping horses
Vandenplas, Jérémie ULg; Janssens, Steven; Buys, Nadine et al

in Journal of Animal Breeding & Genetics (2013), 130(3), 209-217

The aim of this study was to test the integration of external information, i.e. foreign estimated breeding values (EBV) and the associated reliabilities (REL), for stallions into the Belgian genetic ... [more ▼]

The aim of this study was to test the integration of external information, i.e. foreign estimated breeding values (EBV) and the associated reliabilities (REL), for stallions into the Belgian genetic evaluation for jumping horses. The Belgian model is a bivariate repeatability Best Linear Unbiased Prediction animal model only based on Belgian performances while Belgian breeders import horses from neighbouring countries. Thereby, use of external information is needed as prior to achieve more accurate EBV. Pedigree and performance data contained 101,382 horses and 712,212 performances, respectively. After conversion to the Belgian trait, external information of 98 French and 67 Dutch stallions were integrated into the Belgian evaluation. Resulting Belgian rankings of the foreign stallions were more similar to foreign rankings according to the increase of the rank correlations of at least 12%. REL of their EBV were improved of at least 2% on average. External information was partially to totally equivalent to 4 years of contemporary horses’ performances or to all the stallions’ own performances. All these results showed the interest to integrate external information into the Belgian evaluation. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Asp298Asn missense mutation in the porcine melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene can be used to affect growth and carcass traits without an effect on meat quality
Van den Maagdenberg, Karijn; Stinckens, Anneleen; Claeys, Eric et al

in Animal (2007), 1(8), 1089-1098

A promising tool to improve daily gain in pigs is the missense mutation (Asp298Asn) in the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene, especially in the Belgian pig industry where the slow-growing Pietrain breed ... [more ▼]

A promising tool to improve daily gain in pigs is the missense mutation (Asp298Asn) in the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene, especially in the Belgian pig industry where the slow-growing Pietrain breed is very frequently used as the sire breed The MC4R is expressed in the appetite-regulating region of the brain where it regulates feed intake and energy balance. The mutation has been associated with differences in fatness, daily gain and feed intake. However, less information on the correlated effects on meat quality is available. In order to evaluate the influence of the MC4R mutation on carcass and meat quality parameters, a total of 1155 pigs of a four-way cross were slaughtered at an average live weight of 109 kg, and data about daily live-weight gain, carcass and meat quality were collected Allelic frequencies were 0.69 for the G-allele (298Asp variant or well-conserved variant) and 0.31 for the A-allele (298Asn variant or the mutated variant). Barrows and gilts were almost equally distributed in this population with, respectively, 49.9% and 50.1%. Moreover, independent of this mutation, the relationship between average daily gain (ADG) and carcass on the one hand and meat quality traits on the other hand was evaluated in this population. A significant positive influence of the MC4R mutation on ADG (P < 0.001) was found accompanied by a higher fat thickness (P < 0.05) and a lower carcass lean meat content (P < 0.01), whereas muscle thickness and carcass conformation traits were not affected. The effects on meat quality traits were not significant, except for a lower shear force (P = 0.054) and a higher intramuscular fat content (P = 0.052) in AA animals. In the longissimus, pH and pork quality meter (PQM) values were not influenced, and effects on drip loss and colour were not apparent. Residual correlation coefficients between ADG and carcass lean meat content on the one hand and meat quality traits on the other hand were generally very low (vertical bar r vertical bar > 0.1). Higher ADG, higher carcass fat thickness and lower carcass lean meat content were correlated with slightly lower shear force values (vertical bar r vertical bar similar to 0.1, P < 0.05). In conclusion, in the studied population, the Asp298Asn mutation in the MC4R gene was associated with improved daily gain, higher carcass fatness and almost no effect on meat quality traits. [less ▲]

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