Antibody response to PRRS vaccine can help predict reproductive success

Researchers at Iowa State University find that identifying an antibody response to the PRRS vaccine in pigs can help predict reproductive success.
calendar icon 8 December 2020
clock icon 5 minute read

“Animals that perform better in the nucleus environment do not necessarily perform the best in commercial herds,” she said. “An indicator trait of reproductive performance collected at the commercial level that is highly heritable, such as antibody response to PRRSV, could help obtain faster genetic progress for sows’ reproductive performance.”

Findings from the research were recently published in the peer-reviewed journal “Frontiers in Genetics.” Co-authors in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State were Serão and Sanglard, Professor Rohan L. Fernando and Distinguished Professor Jack C. M. Dekkers. Other partners on the study were Kent A. Gray with Smithfield Premium Genetics; Daniel C. L. Linhares, in the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine, Iowa State; and Megan C. Niederwerder, in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University.

This new study builds on previous research by Serão and others, which found that antibody response to a PRRSV outbreak was a potential trait that could predict reproductive performance. Those findings showed that increased antibody response to the PRRSV infection was significantly correlated with more piglets born alive – and importantly, that antibody response to the PRRSV infection is highly heritable.

Yet waiting for PRRS outbreaks to occur so the trait can be measured limits its use for purposes of routine genetic selection. So the researchers were pleased to see that the relationship between antibody response to PRRSV and reproductive performance also held true for non-infected commercial pigs after exposure to the vaccine.

“These are promising results. In this area of work, we are always trying to find a novel trait that can be used to improve performance at the commercial level,” he said. “A number of companies have indicated interest to see how they could use this information to breed more productive, resilient pigs.”

Nick Serão (left), assistant professor of animal science at Iowa State University, presenting the 2020 National Swine Improvement Federation (NSIF) Graduate Student Award to Leticia Sanglard, Iowa State animal science doctoral candidate. Sanglard gave a talk at the national virtual event, 3 December, based on research she has been involved with in Serão’s lab.
Nick Serão (left), assistant professor of animal science at Iowa State University, presenting the 2020 National Swine Improvement Federation (NSIF) Graduate Student Award to Leticia Sanglard, Iowa State animal science doctoral candidate. Sanglard gave a talk at the national virtual event, 3 December, based on research she has been involved with in Serão’s lab.
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