Sows

News

Podcast: Getting genetics right

In the 21st edition of the Real P3 podcast, 2 experts share their views about poor pig fertility, phenotype, swine genetics, and how to select the best animals for each system.

The Real P3 podcast series is an initiative where pork professionals from around the world are interviewed about challenges and solutions in their day-to-day work. In this episode, Dr Casey Bradley speaks to experts Amanda Minton and Dr Justin Fix from Acuity Genetics, a wholly owned genetic entity launched about 12 years ago as an offshoot of The Maschhoffs in the US.

Amanda, in Indiana, USA, is the associate director of reproductive technology for Acuity and leads reproductive research efforts together with The Maschhoffs’ R&D department as well as other industry and university partners. Geneticist, Dr Fix, is director of business development and genetic improvement and overseas a team of geneticists, as well as business development of Acuity.

Reproduction and genetics go hand in hand, says Minton, and a focus of the team is the fertility of the boar, and characterise and understand individual boar fertility. A model has been created to predict boar fertility.

A challenge in pig genetics

From a genetic standpoint, Dr Fix notes that it is a challenge to detect the genetic differences when it comes to “silent killers” that show up in just 1-2% of the population and might include scrotal ruptures or umbilical ruptures or hernias, for example. So, he says, it is about “how we collect real data in a real environment in numbers that allow us to detect the differences needed to find the boars that are either better, or the ones that are a liability. In the case of mortality or fertility issues, it is the really bad ones you want to get rid of and not necessarily make them all better.”

Dr Bradley discusses with Dr Fix and Minton their advice and recommendations for producers who are looking for good genetics or trying to do this or improve this internally. Getting the basics right matters, Dr Fix says.

In the previous weeks, Pig Progress published earlier episodes of the Real P3 podcast series: