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J Anim Sci. 1993 Sep;71(9):2341-52.

Considerations on genetic connectedness between management units under an animal model.

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Centre for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.


Connectedness among management units (e.g., herds or regions) is of concern in genetic evaluation. When genetic evaluation is under an animal model, connections occur through A, the numerator relationship matrix. It is argued that the most appropriate measure of connectedness is the average prediction error variance (PEV) of differences in EBV between animals in different management units. It is shown that PEV of differences is influenced by average genetic relationship between and within management units, which in turn affects the variances of estimates of differences between management unit effects. When PEV of differences cannot be computed, use of one of three alternative measures is proposed; the gene-flow method that measures the exchange of genes between management units, measurement of genetic drift variance based on average relationships between and within management units, and measurement of the variance of estimated differences between management units effects. These were correlated with PEV of differences in a test simulation. The gene-flow method, which is simplest to compute, had the lowest correlation (.671). The drift variance and variance of management unit effects methods were highly correlated with PEV of differences (.924 and .995, respectively).

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