Free Access
Genet. Sel. Evol.
Volume 39, Number 2, March-April 2007
Page(s) 207 - 223
Published online 17 February 2007
Genet. Sel. Evol. 39 (2007) 207-223
DOI: 10.1051/gse:2006043

Late reproductive senescence in a rabbit line hyper selected for reproductive longevity, and its association with body reserves

Per Theilgaarda, Juan Pablo Sánchezb, Juan José Pascuala, Peer Bergc, Nic C. Friggensc and Manuel Baselgaa

a  Departamento de Ciencia Animal, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Spain
b  Departamento de Producción Animal I, Universidad de León, Spain
c  Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Research Centre Foulum, PO-Box 50, DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark

(Received 29 March 2006; accepted 16 October 2006 ; published online 17 February 2007)

Abstract - The aim of the present study was to investigate differences in reproductive and body traits during successive parities between two genetic lines. The LP line was constituted by means of selection of animals having an extremely high number of parities (at least 25) and an average reproductive performance compared to the V line selected for litter size at weaning during 31 generations. The two lines were found to have an equal reproductive performance in the first three parities, but the LP line had higher reproductive performance from the fourth parturition onwards. The low reproductive performance after the third parity in the V line was suggested to be caused by constrained environmental conditions in the test station. A line by parity interaction was also observed for body weight, since body weight declined going from the third to the fourth parity in the LP line but not the V line. Thus, it was concluded that hyper selection for reproductive longevity and average prolificacy successfully delayed reproductive senescence, and that this newly founded line showed less environmental sensitivity, which might have been mediated by a higher body reserve.

Key words: rabbit females / longevity / reproductive performance / body fat / body weight

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2007