Swine feed efficiency improvement and meat quality co-selection using genome wide technologies

Improving feed efficiency (FE) and meat quality (MQ) are Canadian swine industry priorities that will increase sustainability and competitiveness. It is difficult to improve these traits simultaneously by traditional breeding methods due to limited knowledge of genetic interactions, limitations on animals that can be measured and the high cost of measurement. High throughput genomic technology has the potential to positively impact these issues. Our overall purpose is to develop a genomic assisted breeding program to simultaneously improve FE and MQ. This collaboration will benefit the partner's long term competitiveness through implementation of genomic technology into existing breeding programs and training of high qualified personnel. An example of the potential economic benefits to the industry by improving FE: herd feed conversion (kg feed/kg pork) is now ~3:1, each 0.01 improvement in FE (e.g. 3.00 to 2.99) represents ~200,000 tonnes of feed/yr saved, worth approximately $55 million to the Canadian pork industry.

Chunyan Zhang
Faculty Supervisor: 
Graham Plastow
Project Year: