Bigger is usually better where litter size is concerned. Scientists with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Neb., have identified a genetic marker that could help swine breeders select animals for increased uterine capacity and litter size. This genetic discovery could give swine breeding an efficiency boost.
How does it work? Research leader Jeffrey Vallet and his colleagues discovered a single nucleotide polymorphism, or
SNPs are genetic variations that provide information about an animal’s genetic value and can be used in breeding programs. In studies on two unrelated swine populations, the scientists showed that this newly discovered
The T allele occurred at low frequency in the population that was studied, but it’s still a beneficial genetic difference. So how can it be used?
Vallet and geneticist Bradley Freking have developed an assay to detect the