Chinese Erhualian pigs are known for prolificacy with distinct reproductive traits compared with Western commercial breeds. In this study, a four-generation intercross resource population was constructed using White Duroc boars and Chinese Erhualian sows as founder animals, and a total of 14 male reproductive traits were recorded in 411 F2/F3 boars including the testis and epididymis weights, the seminiferous tubular diameter and spermatogenesis at 60, 90 and 300 days of age, semen characteristics, serum testosterone concentration and libido level at 300 days of age. The White Duroc–Erhualian boars showed remarkable segregations in the traits measured except for the seminiferous tubular diameter and had high ratio (13.9%) of the abnormality of spermatogenesis, providing a good experimental population for detecting quantitative trait loci affecting these male reproductive traits. Furthermore, the correlations among nine male reproductive traits at 300 days of age indicated that the testis weight and the body weight were strongly correlated with the sperm production, supporting the two traits as important parameters for boar selection to increase sperm production and ultimately improve boar fertility. The libido level in the White Duroc–Erhualian boars that was evaluated by a new and easily recorded scoring system showed a significant correlation with serum testosterone concentration. Yet, both libido and serum testosterone concentration were not correlated with the sperm production. Results of this study provided new information on the male reproductive physiology and genetics in Chinese Erhualian and White Duroc boars.
Reproduction in Domestic Animals Vol. 44, Issue 6, p. 913-919