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Identifying the genetic causes of sow aggression towards their offspring. - AW0134

Aggressive behaviour by sows directed towards their own offspring occurs commonly in the pig, with a significant impact upon both the agricultural economy and animal welfare. The origin of this behaviour is unknown, but appears to have a strong genetic component. This project involves the screening of cDNA clones derived from neural tissues of aggressive and control sows, to identify candidate genes whose expression predicts the behavioural phenotype. In addition a genome wide analysis will be performed using microarrays and an approach based on qualitative trait loci. Study of identified candidate genes and the proteins that they encode will enhance understanding of the mechanisms underlying this pathology and may suggest strategies for prevention or treatment. Genome wide analysis offers the potential for marker assisted selection to reduce the incidence of failed maternal behaviour in the domestic sow by selective breeding. These twin objectives offer the political relevance of simultaneously improving animal welfare and productivity in commercial piggeries.
01: Identification of Transcriptional Differences in the Hypthalamus.
02: Identification of Genetic Loci influencing Aggressive Phenotype.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Identifying the genetic causes of sow aggression towards their offspring.   (674k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2002

To: 2007

Cost: £559,343
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Cambridge
Livestock Farming              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare