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Direct and correlated responses to selection in two lines of rabbits selected for feed efficiency under ad libitum and restricted feeding: I. Production traits and gut microbiota characteristics.

TitleDirect and correlated responses to selection in two lines of rabbits selected for feed efficiency under ad libitum and restricted feeding: I. Production traits and gut microbiota characteristics.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDrouilhet, L, Achard, CS, Zemb, O, Molette, C, Gidenne, T, Larzul, C, Ruesche, J, Tircazes, A, Segura, M, Bouchez, T, Theau-Clément, M, Joly, T, Balmisse, E, Garreau, H, Gilbert, H
JournalJ Anim Sci
Volume94
Issue1
Pagination38-48
Date Published2016 Jan
ISSN1525-3163
Abstract

To get insights into selection criteria for feed efficiency, 2 rabbit lines have been created: the ConsoResidual line was selected for residual feed intake (RFI) with ad libitum feeding and the ADGrestrict line was selected for ADG under restricted feeding (-20% of voluntary intake). The first objective of this study was to evaluate, after 9 generations of selection, the direct and correlated responses to selection on production traits in the 2 lines for traits recorded during growth. Second, applying the 2 feeding conditions used for selection to both selected lines plus the control unselected line (generation 0, G0) in a 2 × 3 factorial trial, the line performances were compared and the gut microbiota of the lines was characterized. The correlated responses in feed conversion ratio (FCR) were remarkably equivalent in both selected lines (-2.74 genetic σ) but correlated responses in other traits were notably different. In the ConsoResidual line, selection for decreased RFI resulted in a small negative correlated response in BW at 63 d old (BW63) and in a null response in ADG. In the ADGrestrict line, on the contrary, the correlated response in BW63 was substantial (+1.59 σ). The 2 selected lines had a FCR reduced by 0.2 point compared with the G0 line, and the same difference was found in both feeding regimens ( < 0.001). Indeed, selection on ADG would lead to heavier animals with no significant reduction of feed costs, whereas selection on RFI leads to lower feed costs and no increase of animal BW under ad libitum feeding. Altogether, our results do not suggest any genotype × environment interaction in the response to feeding regimens. The intestinal microbial communities from efficient rabbits differed from their unselected counterparts in terms of fermentation end products and microbial phylotypes, suggesting a central role of these microbes in the better feed efficiency of the rabbits.

DOI10.2527/jas.2015-9402
Alternate JournalJ. Anim. Sci.
PubMed ID26812310