The genetic architecture of duration of fertility was investigated on Common duck females (INRA44 strain) bred at 3 ages of their first laying cycle and by two breeding systems: pure breeding (p), using males from the same strain and intergeneric crossbreeding (c) with Muscovy drakes. Maximum duration of fertility (DMp and DMc), i.e. the time interval between insemination and the last fertilised egg, the number of fertilised eggs (Fp and Fc) and the number of hatched ducklings after a single insemination (Hp and Hc) were analysed over 3 generations. A total of 494 females and 2655 inseminations were involved. In both breeding systems, the pattern of the phenotypic and genetic correlations between traits were similar and the correlations between the same variable measured at different ages were generally higher than 0.80 except for Hc (0.60-0.70). Pure breeding resulted in higher duration of fertility: DMp=8.05 vs. DMc=6.43 days; Fp=5.87 vs. Fc=4.15 fertile eggs; Hp=4.79 vs. Hc=3.47 ducklings. Heritability was higher for DMp (0.27) than for DMc (0.16) but both traits were highly correlated to each other (rg=0.85). Hp and Hc had similar heritability (0.17 and 0.13, respectively) and also displayed a high genetic correlation (rg=0.88). Permanent environmental effects influenced Hp, DMc and Hc to the same extend (ratio to total variance ranging from 0.14 to 0.17) but much less DMp (0.04). In the strain INRA44, the same set of genes seemed to control the duration of the fertile period in pure breeding and in hybridization.

J. M Brun, M. M Richard, N. Sellier, J. P Brillard

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume , , 07.22, 2006
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