Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 35, Number 1, January-February 2003
Page(s) 21 - 41
Genet. Sel. Evol. 35 (2003) 21-41
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2002034

A Bayesian analysis of the effect of selection for growth rate on growth curves in rabbits

Agustín Blascoa, Miriam Pilesa and Luis Varonab

a  Departamento de Ciencia Animal, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, PO Box 22012, Valencia 46071, Spain
b  UdL-IRTA. Rovira Roure, 177, Lleida, Spain

(Received 15 November 2001; accepted 24 September 2002)

Gompertz growth curves were fitted to the data of 137 rabbits from control (C) and selected (S) lines. The animals came from a synthetic rabbit line selected for an increased growth rate. The embryos from generations 3 and 4 were frozen and thawed to be contemporary of rabbits born in generation 10. Group C was the offspring of generations 3 and 4, and group S was the contemporary offspring of generation 10. The animals were weighed individually twice a week during the first four weeks of life, and once a week thereafter, until 20 weeks of age. Subsequently, the males were weighed weekly until 40 weeks of age. The random samples of the posterior distributions of the growth curve parameters were drawn by using Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods. As a consequence of selection, the selected animals were heavier than the C animals throughout the entire growth curve. Adult body weight, estimated as a parameter of the Gompertz curve, was 7% higher in the selected line. The other parameters of the Gompertz curve were scarcely affected by selection. When selected and control growth curves are represented in a metabolic scale, all differences disappear.

Key words: growth curves / selection / rabbits / Bayesian analysis

Correspondence and reprints: Agustín Blasco

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2003