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Open Access Research

Eleven generations of selection for the duration of fertility in the intergeneric crossbreeding of ducks

Yu-Shin Cheng1, Roger Rouvier2, Hsiao-Lung Liu1, Shang-Chi Huang1, Yu-Chia Huang1, Chung-Wen Liao1, Jui-Jane Liu Tai1, Chein Tai3 and Jean-Paul Poivey24*

Author Affiliations

1 Livestock Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, Hsin-Hua, Tainan, 71246 Taiwan

2 INRA, UR631, Station d'Amélioration Génétique des Animaux, BP 52627, 31326 Castanet-Tolosan, France

3 Southern Taiwan University of Technology, Tainan, 71005 Taiwan

4 CIRAD, UR18, Systèmes d'élevage, 34398 Montpellier, France

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Genetics Selection Evolution 2009, 41:32  doi:10.1186/1297-9686-41-32

Published: 31 March 2009

Abstract

A 12-generation selection experiment involving a selected line (S) and a control line (C) has been conducted since 1992 with the aim of increasing the number of fertile eggs laid by the Brown Tsaiya duck after a single artificial insemination (AI) with pooled Muscovy semen. On average, 28.9% of the females and 17.05% of the males were selected. The selection responses and the predicted responses showed similar trends. The average predicted genetic responses per generation in genetic standard deviation units were 0.40 for the number of fertile eggs, 0.45 for the maximum duration of fertility, and 0.32 for the number of hatched mule ducklings' traits. The fertility rates for days 2–8 after AI were 89.14% in the S line and 61.46% in the C line. Embryo viability was not impaired by this selection. The largest increase in fertility rate per day after a single AI was observed from d5 to d11. In G12, the fertility rate in the selected line was 91% at d2, 94% at d3, 92% at days 3 and 4 then decreased to 81% at d8, 75% at d9, 58% at d10 and 42% at d11. In contrast, the fertility rate in the control line showed an abrupt decrease from d4 (74%). The same tendencies were observed for the evolution of hatchability according to the egg set rates. It was concluded that selection for the number of fertile eggs after a single AI with pooled Muscovy semen could effectively increase the duration of the fertile period in ducks and that research should now be focused on ways to improve the viability of the hybrid mule duck embryo.