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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » Livestock Behavior Research » Research » Research Project #439750

Research Project: Integrating Functional Genomics, Behavior, and Health Measures to Mitigate the Cumulative Effects of in Utero Heat Stress on Swine Welfare

Location: Livestock Behavior Research

Project Number: 5020-32000-014-068-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2021
End Date: Jun 30, 2025

The study objective is to identify, using functional genomics, which sows are most susceptible to producing offspring that suffer from the negative effects of in utero heat stress and then evaluate the subsequent effects of in utero heat stress susceptibility on the health and behavior of pigs.

Commercial breeding records and litter data will be obtained on parity 1 sows going back up to 5 generations. We will compare sows by breeding times when historical ambient temperature data indicates that sows were under heat stress or thermoneutral conditions. These data will allow us to determine the risk factors for producing piglets suffering from the negative influences of in utero heat stress by comparing performance and health information. We will then select replacement gilts derived from either high or low risk sows, breed them, and then evaluate the effects of in utero heat stress on subsequent health and behavioral measures associated with positive welfare in their offspring to validate our selection criteria.