Quantitative Phenomics of Growth and Size in Animals

  •  V. L. Stass    


This study introduces a model of the growth phenotype dynamic in pigs by applying analytical methods. The model describes a transformation of the growth phenotype from 30kg live weight up to the species maximum weight.

This paper focuses on a description of the determinants, which channel growth dynamic through animals' ontogeny. Theoretical notions about the growth are explicitly included in the concept. In the model, functional relations between relevant traits obtained in the experiments and field observations are analysed. Two focal variables, a feed conversion coefficient, and an invariant of growth are explicitly integrated in the model.

The novelty of the research is a proposition that deterministic, analytical model is a conceivable approach to studying a phenotype of a quantitative trait. According to this proposition, processes that contribute to the growth and development continue in later life till a species maximum weight is attained. The concept is formulated as a deterministic, hybrid model. In the model, both standard continuum methods and discrete-time difference equations have been used.

Applied to experimental data, the model has produced a new insight into the problem. In domestic pigs, the following three sets of ontogenetic growth phenotypes have been identified: one set with three species maximum weight phenotypes, one set with three rapid growth phenotypes, and one set with individual maximum weight phenotypes. In the study, not only the sets of growth phenotype are identified but also a possible interpretation of a conversion mode of the sets in ontogeny as well as a reading of growth trajectory dynamic are discussed.

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