Genetic influence on the number of pigs born live or dead

The size of the litter is one of the most important characteristics for production on pig farms, as it is directly related to production efficiency; so, apart from the number of piglets born alive, the number of piglets born dead and mummified at birth must be taken into account to explain production losses.

One study explored the underlying genetic architecture of live-born and dead-born piglets in a Duroc pig population.

A total of 803 sows were sampled and 2807 farrowing records were collected with the following traits:

Live born


Mummified piglets

A genome-wide association study was then performed for these traits in parity groups of 1 to 5.



They found 10 regions associated with these characters and identified 8 independent signals for the variables under study and 7 related promising candidate genes, including:


The findings contribute to the understanding of significant genetic causes of live and dead piglets and could have a positive effect on pig production efficiency and economic gains.

The genomic structures of live-born and dead-born Duroc piglets were different between parities.



Zitao, C., Shaopan, Y., Jinyan, T., Shuqi, D., Xialong, Y., Zanmou, C., Hao Z., Jiaqi, L., Zhe, Z. Genome-wide association studies for the number of animals born alive and dead in duroc pigs. 2019. Elsevier. Theriogenology. Volume 139, pages 36-42.


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