Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The maintenance of reproductive fitness in lines subjected to artificial selection is one of the major problems in animal breeding. The decline in reproductive performance has neither been predictable from heritabilities and genetic correlations, nor have conventional selection indices been adequate to avoid the problem. Gowe (1983) has suggested that the heritabilities of reproductive traits are non-linear, with heritabilities being higher on the lower fitness side. Consequently, he has predicted that culling on reproductive fitness in artificial selection lines will be effective in preventing the usual declines in fitness. An experimental evaluation of Gowe's prediction has been carried out by comparing fitnesses of replicated lines of three treatments: selection for increased inebriation time without culling on fitness (HO), selection for inebriation time with culling of 20% (4/20) of selected females on reproductive fitness (HS), and unselected controls (C). Response to selection for inebriation time in the two selection treatments was similar. After 25 generations, the competitive index, a measure of reproductive fitness, was significantly lower in the HO treatment than the HS treatment, while the HS treatment did not differ from the control lines or the base population. These results demonstrate for the first time that culling on reproductive fitness in selection lines can be used to prevent the usual decline in reproductive performance.
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