Genomic selection and an emphasis on making more use of information from DNA analysis lie at the heart of a new pig breeding project announced in Denmark.
The collaboration is between the pig research center of the Danish Agriculture & Food Council and Aarhus University. It aims to achieve improvements in aspects such as the longevity of sows and their maternal characteristics as well as in the more conventional traits of pig survival, growth rate and lean meat percentage. Ultimately, its backers think that the current rate of genetic progress in the target pig population could be increased by as much as 50%.
Work has started on developing a DNA-based selection model, scheduled for completion over the next two years. Among the sources of funding is a program established by the Ministry of Food in Denmark to promote initiatives in food production that benefit the environment and animal welfare.