A four-year crossing scheme involving Spanish V line (V) and Egyptian Baladi Red (B) rabbits was carried out toproducefive genetic groups:V, B,1/2B1/2V(F1), (1/2B1/2V)2(F2), and ((1/2B1/2V)2)2. The last genetic group was considered a new line, named APRI. Body weights (BW) and daily gains inweight (DG) fromfour to twelveweeks were evaluated for 13,383 rabbits produced by 330 sires and 1074 dams. An animal model was used to estimate heritabilities and common litter effects and a generalized least squares procedure was used to estimate direct additive effects, and direct and maternal heterosis. Heritabilities for growth traits were mostly moderate, ranging from 0.075 to 0.240 for BWand from 0.020 to 0.104 for G. The V line was heavier and had better gains at each weighing than B rabbits. The F2 and APRI were also lower in most post-weaning growth performance measures than V line rabbits. APRI rabbits were significantly lighter by 39, 26, 46, 64, and 50 g at ages of 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 weeks, respectively, relative to the purebred V line, while APRI was significantly heavier by 36 and 127 g relative to the B line at 4 and 12 weeks. The V line, in general, had a higher DG than B line. The differences were 3.15, 7.91 and 1.95 g/d at age intervals of 8–10, 10–12 and 4–12 weeks. Differences in direct additive effects between the two lines were in favor of V line rabbits reaching 15.0% (76 g) at 4 weeks and 13.3% (195 g) at 12 weeks. Direct additive effects for DG were significant during most age intervals reaching 35.7% (7.19 g/d) in the interval of 10–12 weeks. All estimates of direct heterosis were positive and ranged from 4.9 to 16.7% for BWand 14.4 to 29.5% for DG, but the estimates for maternal heterosis were, in most cases, significantly negative and ranging from−4.5 to−15.2% for BWand from 20.6 to−36.9% for DG. If the results are confirmed at commercial farms, the APRI line could be reared in heat stress conditions.
© 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.