What’s new in damline liquid genetics?

By Caroline Blaken, PIC Technical Sales Support - PIC’s new high-throughput marker discovery programme has resulted in a pipeline of thousands of genetic markers for evaluation within PIC’s breeding programme.
calendar icon 15 January 2007
clock icon 4 minute read
Results are just beginning to be harvested and more than 150 markers are in advanced validation. 75 of these are being implemented under PIC’s Global Genetic Breeding Programme to improve the accuracy of breeding values, ultimately leading to an increase in the rate of genetic improvement of breeding lines.

The evaluation of current and new markers for incorporating into the breeding programme is an on-going process carried out by a dedicated and highly specialised team. The team is looking to improve the information within the programme to generate more accurate breeding values in order to predict the resulting performance of progeny on-farm.

Example of PICMarq™ Marker Technology

Within PIC’s damlines, 30 genetic markers are currently being used to improve the accuracy of Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) for the following traits:

Piglet robustness and survivability is of huge production and economic importance. Approximately 14 of the 30 validated genetic markers are aimed at improving these robustness traits. More accurate predictions can be made for survivability performance through EBVs when selecting PIC’s damlines for commercial use.


PIC GN Cross-bred Programme
PIC has taken an advanced approach to sireline evaluation through a programme called GN Cross-bred which was implemented in 2005. It incorporates commercial, cross-bred performance which will allow for a more accurate reflection of sireline contribution of genetic merit to commercial breeding programmes. In the UK, this programme has been undertaken on one of our customer’s commercial units, Crichel Farms in Dorset.

By discovering not only how well genetic lines perform in high health nucleus pyramids, but also how well the progeny perform in more challenging commercial environments, high rates of genetic and economic improvement can be made through Cross-bred Breeding Values (CBVs).

More recently, PIC’s damline GN Cross-bred Programme has got underway with the aim of collecting GN Cross-bred reproductive data from over 40,000 litters a year. This can be fed into the Global Genetic Breeding Programme to more accurately predict reproductive performance at commercial level. Through an innovative combination of new techniques, quantitative selection has dramatically increased implementation of PICMarq™ technology, therefore increasing the rate of improvement of PIC’s sire and damline products.

Six things you might not know about PIC damlines!

  1. Did you know?
    As of 1 November 2006, PIC’s GP damline semen will be coloured to facilitate easy identification within a box of flatpacks. Colours relevant to each genotype are as shown below.

  2. Did you know? PIC GP 1010
    Breeding objectives for this Landrace damline are based on 13 damline characteristics (as for all damlines) designed to deliver continual genetic improvement in sow reproductive performance and the performance of the progeny. The 13 damline traits include factors such as total litter weaning weight to take account of numbers born, number reared and sow mothering ability.

  3. Did you know? PIC GP 1020
    As a pure line, the GP 1020 Large White, is the top-performing damline for PIC worldwide. This line incorporates gene marker technology in the form of LS1 for increased litter size. Top 10% of GP 1020 sows achieved an average Born Alive of 16.9 piglets per litter (2005- 2006).

  4. Did you know? PIC GP 1025
    The robust White Duroc damline produces progeny with an average birth weight of 1.4kgs per piglet as a pure line at genetic nucleus level. An excellent milking ability supports high weaning weights and high piglet survival (2,247 litters 2004-2006).

  5. Did you know?
    A large worldwide genetic population of 2,700 pure GP 1030 Red Durocs operate within the Global PIC Genetic Programme. This robust line is selected within the UK on tailored damline index to provide a 50% component of a customised outdoor breeding female, used within an integrated production programme.

  6. Did you know?
    • PIC’s four key genetic nucleus units consisting of 6,800 pure line sows reared an average 25.4 pigs per mated sow in 2005
    • Heterosis in cross-bred sows is worth an additional 3-4 pigs per sow per year
    • So today’s genetic potential is in excess of 29 pigs/sow/year.
November 2006
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