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Divergent selection for total fleece weight in Angora rabbits: Correlated responses in wool characteristics

Rafat, S.A., Rochambeau, H. de, Thébault, R.G., David, I., Deretz, S., Bonnet, M., Pena-Arnaud, B., Allain, D.
Livestock science 2008 v.113 no.1 pp. 8-13
rabbits, weight, fleece, correlated responses, diameter, Angora (rabbit breed), hair follicles, wool, genetic techniques and protocols, compressibility, fiber quality, selection criteria, breeding lines
An experiment was carried out to study direct and indirect responses to selection in the Angora rabbit. There were two selection lines, one selected for high fleece weight and the other for low fleece weight. Data from 669 female rabbits born in 1994-2001 and having produced a total of 2923 harvest of wool were analysed to quantify the correlated responses to selection. By 2001, there had been eight cohorts of selection. The correlated responses analysed included compression, resilience, fleece quality traits (bristle and down length, average fibre diameter, comfort factor, bristle diameter) and secondary to primary follicle ratio (S/P). Genetic correlations were obtained by restricted maximum likelihood techniques. In response to selection, a positive difference of 0.92, 0.21 and 0.55 genetic standard deviation were observed for bristle length, comfort factor and S/P, respectively. No correlated response was observed on down length while negative differences of 1.00, 1.31, 0.38 and 0.50 genetic standard deviations were observed for compression, resilience, bristle diameter and average fibre diameter, respectively. Selection for increasing total fleece weight results in an increase of qualitative component traits of wool production in the French Angora rabbit. The quantitative traits were examined in the first (published) part of the paper.