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Article

High Heritabilities for Antibiotic Usage Show Potential to Breed for Disease Resistance in Finishing Pigs

1
Center for Animal Breeding and Genetics, Department of Biosystems, KU Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 30—Box 2472, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
2
Porcine Health Management Unit, Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium
3
Vlaamse Piétrain Fokkerij vzw, Aardenburgkalseide 254, 9990 Maldegem, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Laila Ben Said, Ismail Fliss and Carmen Torres
Received: 14 June 2021 / Revised: 1 July 2021 / Accepted: 6 July 2021 / Published: 8 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antimicrobial Resistance and Antibiotic Alternatives in Livestock)
The use of antimicrobials in animal production is under public debate, mainly due to the risk of transfer of resistance to pathogenic bacteria in humans. Therefore, measures have been taken during the last few decades to reduce antibiotic usage in animals, for instance, by national monitoring programmes and by improving animal health management. Although some initiatives exist in molecular genetic selection, quantitative genetic selection of animals towards decreased antibiotic usage is an underexplored area to reduce antibiotic usage. However, this strategy could yield cumulative effects. In this study, we derived new phenotypes from on-farm parenteral antibiotic records from commercially grown crossbred finishing pigs used in the progeny test of Piétrain terminal sires to investigate the heritability of antibiotics usage. Parenteral antibiotic records, production parameters and pedigree records of 2238 full-sib pens from two experimental farms in Belgium between 2014 and 2020 were analysed. Heritability estimates were moderate (18–44%) for phenotypes derived from all antibiotic treatments, and low (1–15%) for phenotypes derived from treatments against respiratory diseases only. Moreover, genetic correlations between these new phenotypes and mortality were low to moderate (0.08–0.60) and no strong adverse genetic correlations with production traits were found. The high heritabilities and favourable genetic correlations suggest these new phenotypes, derived from on-farm antibiotics records, to be promising for inclusion in future pig breeding programs to breed for a decrease in antibiotics usage. View Full-Text
Keywords: antibiotics; genetic parameters; heritability; genetic correlation; resilience; disease resistance; finishing pigs; field data antibiotics; genetic parameters; heritability; genetic correlation; resilience; disease resistance; finishing pigs; field data
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gorssen, W.; Maes, D.; Meyermans, R.; Depuydt, J.; Janssens, S.; Buys, N. High Heritabilities for Antibiotic Usage Show Potential to Breed for Disease Resistance in Finishing Pigs. Antibiotics 2021, 10, 829. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/antibiotics10070829

AMA Style

Gorssen W, Maes D, Meyermans R, Depuydt J, Janssens S, Buys N. High Heritabilities for Antibiotic Usage Show Potential to Breed for Disease Resistance in Finishing Pigs. Antibiotics. 2021; 10(7):829. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/antibiotics10070829

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gorssen, Wim, Dominiek Maes, Roel Meyermans, Jürgen Depuydt, Steven Janssens, and Nadine Buys. 2021. "High Heritabilities for Antibiotic Usage Show Potential to Breed for Disease Resistance in Finishing Pigs" Antibiotics 10, no. 7: 829. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/antibiotics10070829

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