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Anim Reprod Sci. 2009 Aug;114(1-3):72-80. doi: 10.1016/j.anireprosci.2008.09.015. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

Bayesian estimates of genetic parameters for pre-conception traits, gestation length and calving interval in beef cattle.

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Unidad de Genética cuantitativa y Mejora animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de Zaragoza, C. Miguel Servet, 177, E-50013 Zaragoza, Spain.


A total of 5253 records obtained from 2081 Rubia Gallega beef cows managed using artificial insemination as the only reproduction system were analysed to estimate genetic parameters for days to first insemination (DFI), days from first insemination to conception (FIC), number of inseminations per conception (IN), days open (DO), gestation length (GL) and calving interval (CI) via multitrait Bayesian procedures. Estimates of the mean of posterior distribution of the heritability of DFI, FIC, IN, DO, GL and CI were, respectively, 0.050, 0.078, 0.071, 0.053, 0.037 and 0.085 and the corresponding estimates for repeatability of these traits were 0.116, 0.129, 0.147, 0.138, 0.082 and 0.132, respectively. No significant genetic correlations associated to DFI or GL were found. However, genetic correlations between the other four analysed traits were high and significant. Genetic correlations between FIC and IN, DO and CI were similar and higher than 0.85. Genetic correlations of IN-DO and IN-CI were over 0.65. The highest genetic correlation was estimated for the pair DO-CI (0.992) that can be considered the same trait in genetic terms. Results indicated that DFI can be highly affected by non-genetic factors thus limiting its usefulness to be used as an earlier indicator of reproductive performance in beef cattle. Moreover, GL could not be associated to the reproductive performance of the cow before conception. The other four analysed traits, FIC, IN, DO and CI, have close genetic relationships. The inclusion of IN as an earlier indicator of fertility in beef cattle improvement programs using artificial insemination as the main reproductive system can be advisable due to the low additional recording effort needed.

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