Integration of ovulation rate, potential embryonic viability and uterine capacity into a model of litter size in swine

J Anim Sci. 1989 May;67(5):1230-41. doi: 10.2527/jas1989.6751230x.

Abstract

A mathematical model of litter size in swine was developed from ovulation rate, potential embryonic viability and uterine capacity. The model assumed that ovulation rate was reduced to potentially viable embryos by factors innate to the ovum and embryo. Potentially viable embryos then could be further reduced to uterine capacity, the maximum number of fetuses that a female can carry to term. Consequently, litter size can be no greater than either ovulation rate or uterine capacity. Means and variances of ovulation rate and potential embryonic viability used in the model were based on experimental results. The mean and variance of uterine capacity were varied until the simulated mean and variance of litter size were equal to experimental results. Simulated results of relationships among ovulation rate, embryo survival and litter size were similar to observed experimental relationships. Heritabilities of simulated litter size and embryo survival were similar to literature values when the heritability of ovulation rate was set at .25 and the heritability of uterine capacity was set at either .15 or .20. Litter size was simulated for 25 combinations of average ovulation rate and uterine capacity to develop equations relating mean ovulation rate and uterine capacity to litter size, embryo survival and correlations among them. Results suggest that changing either ovulation rate or uterine capacity independently will not result in large changes in litter size. Consequently, the model suggests that a single gene, hormonal manipulation or nutritional change will not result in large increases in litter size and that combinations of factors will be needed to increase litter size.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Female
  • Fetal Viability
  • Genotype
  • Litter Size*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Ovulation
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Swine / embryology
  • Swine / genetics
  • Swine / physiology*
  • Uterus / anatomy & histology