Genetic parameters of resistance to pasteurellosis using novel response traits in rabbits.

TitleGenetic parameters of resistance to pasteurellosis using novel response traits in rabbits.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsShrestha, M, Garreau, H, Balmisse, E, Bed'hom, B, David, I, Guitton, E, Helloin, E, Lenoir, G, Maupin, M, Robert, R, Lantier, F, Gunia, M
JournalGenet Sel Evol
Date Published2020 Jun 26

BACKGROUND: Pasteurellosis (Pasteurella infection) is one of the most common bacterial infections in rabbits on commercial farms and in laboratory facilities. Curative treatments using antibiotics are only partly efficient, with frequent relapses. Breeding rabbits for improved genetic resistance to pasteurellosis is a sustainable alternative approach. In this study, we infected 964 crossbred rabbits from six sire lines experimentally with Pasteurella multocida. After post-mortem examination and bacteriological analyses, abscess, bacteria, and resistance scores were derived for each rabbit based on the extent of lesions and bacterial dissemination in the body. This is the first study to use such an experimental design and response traits to measure resistance to pasteurellosis in a rabbit population. We investigated the genetic variation of these traits in order to identify potential selection criteria. We also estimated genetic correlations of resistance to pasteurellosis in the experimental population with traits that are under selection in the breeding populations (number of kits born alive and weaning weight).

RESULTS: Heritability estimates for the novel response traits, abscess, bacteria, and resistance scores, ranged from 0.08 (± 0.05) to 0.16 (± 0.06). The resistance score showed very strong negative genetic correlation estimates with abscess (- 0.99 ± 0.05) and bacteria scores (- 0.98 ± 0.07). A very high positive genetic correlation of 0.99 ± 0.16 was estimated between abscess and bacteria scores. Estimates of genetic correlations of the resistance score with average daily gain traits for the first and second week after inoculation were 0.98 (± 0.06) and 0.70 (± 0.14), respectively. Estimates of genetic correlations of the disease-related traits with average daily gain pre-inoculation were favorable but with high standard errors. Estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations of the disease-related traits with commercial selection traits were not significantly different from zero.

CONCLUSIONS: Disease response traits are heritable and are highly correlated with each other, but do not show any significant genetic correlations with commercial selection traits. Thus, the prevalence of pasteurellosis could be decreased by selecting more resistant rabbits on any one of the disease response traits with a limited impact on the selection traits, which would allow implementation of a breeding program to improve resistance to pasteurellosis in rabbits.

Alternate JournalGenet. Sel. Evol.
PubMed ID32590928
PubMed Central IDPMC7320576
Grant ListPCOFUND-GA-2013-609102 / / PRESTIGE program coordinated by Campus France. /