Researchers at PurdueUniversity have designed a new breeding program that emphasizes selecting less-aggressive animals, while gaining optimal productivity and minimizing inbreeding health risks.

The program overcomes competition among animals, which often leads to increased injury and inadequate feed intake among subordinate animals.

The new approach selects for passiveness based on equations that identify whether an animal is so aggressive that it will negatively affect the health and productivity of others in the group. “It’s important in a group setting that the animals’ genes not have a negative effect on others,” says William Muir, PurdueUniversity animal scientist.