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Theriogenology. 2014 Sep 15;82(5):708-14. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2014.06.001. Epub 2014 Jun 6.

Genetic relationships among traits related to reproduction and growth of Nelore females.

Author information

1
Grupo de Melhoramento Animal e Biotecnologia (GMAB), Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos, Departamento de Medicina Veterinária, Universidade de São Paulo, Pirassununga, SP, Brazil.
2
Grupo de Melhoramento Animal de Mato Grosso (GMAT), Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Tecnológicas, Campus Universitário de Rondonópolis, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Rondonópolis, MT, Brazil.
3
Grupo de Melhoramento Animal de Mato Grosso (GMAT), Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Tecnológicas, Campus Universitário de Rondonópolis, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Rondonópolis, MT, Brazil. Electronic address: 10mario@gmail.com.

Abstract

The objective of the study presented here was to analyze the genetic relationships among heifer pregnancy (HP), age at first calving (AFC), stayability (STAY), average annual productivity of the cow, in kilograms of weaned calf per cow per year (PRODAM), postweaning weight gain (PWG), and hip height (HH) of Nelore females from 12 Brazilian herds. (Co)variance components were obtained by six-trait animal model using Gibbs sampling. The posterior mean of the heritability estimates were 0.37, 0.18, 0.19, 0.16, 0.21, and 0.37 for HP, AFC, STAY, PRODAM, PWG, and HH, respectively. In general, the genetic correlations were strong between traits related to reproduction, for example, -0.85 between HP and AFC, and 0.94 between STAY and PRODAM. Weak genetic correlations were obtained between reproductive and growth traits (absolute values ranging from 0.02 to 0.30). Although weak, the genetic correlations between PWG and reproductive traits were favorable, whereas the genetic correlations between HH and reproductive traits were close to zero and slightly unfavorable for HP, AFC, and STAY. An increase of HH is therefore expected to have little or no negative effect on the reproductive performance of females. The posterior mean of genetic correlation between PWG and HH was moderate (0.50). On the basis of the heritability, genetic correlation estimates, and time to obtain data, HP and PRODAM seems to show the best potential as selection criteria to improve the productive and reproductive performance of Nelore females. In principle, it is possible to select for increased PWG without compromising the reproduction of Nelore females. However, selection for PWG may result in an increase of female HH as a correlated response, a fact that could increase management costs in advanced generations of selection. In the light of the results, all traits studied here can be used as selection criteria and there is no strong evidence of genetic antagonism among traits related to reproduction and growth of Nelore females.

KEYWORDS:

Cow productivity; Genetic correlation; Heifer pregnancy; Stayability; Threshold model

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