Boar gene results in smaller litters

November 7, 2017 – Prof. Allan King of the University of Guelph has spotted a genetic abnormality that causes boars to sire smaller litters.


About two per cent of male pigs carry the defect, he said, and he has developed a test to identify them from blood samples.


“The abnormal chromosome in boars, male pigs, causes lower litter sizes, typically three to four fewer piglets per litter,” said King who holds the Canada Research Chair in Animal Reproductive Biotechnology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College.


“Those numbers can add up to $100 in lost revenue, on average per litter. We’ve developed a simple blood test that can identify boars with the abnormal chromosome and rule out the problem before any breeding, ensuring average litter sizes at minimum.”


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