Research Article

(Co)variance components and genetic parameters for growth traits in Arabi sheep using different animal models

Published: February 08, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (1) : 305-314 DOI: 10.4238/2012.February.8.5

Abstract

The objective of the present study was to estimate genetic parameters for body weight at different ages in Arabi sheep using data collected from 1999 to 2009. Investigated traits consisted of birth weight (N = 2776), weaning weight (N = 2002) and weight at six months of age (N = 1885). The data were analyzed using restricted maximum likelihood analysis, by fitting univariate and multivariate animal models. All three weight traits were significantly influenced by birth year, sex and birth type. Age of dam only significantly affected birth weight. Log-likelihood ratio tests were conducted to determine the most suitable model for each growth trait in univariate analyses. Direct and total heritability estimates for birth weight, weaning weight and weight at six months of age (based on the best model) were 0.42 and 0.16 (model 4), 0.38 and 0.13 (model 4) and 0.14 and 0.14 (model 1), respectively. Estimation of maternal heritability for birth weight and weaning weight was 0.22 and 0.18, respectively. Genetic and phenotypic correlations among these traits were positive. Phenotypic correlations among traits were low to moderate. Genetic correlations among traits were positive and higher than the corresponding phenotypic correlations. Weaning weight had a strong and significant correlation with weight at six months of age (0.99). We conclude that selection can be made in animals based on weaning weight instead of the present practice of selection based on weight at six months.

The objective of the present study was to estimate genetic parameters for body weight at different ages in Arabi sheep using data collected from 1999 to 2009. Investigated traits consisted of birth weight (N = 2776), weaning weight (N = 2002) and weight at six months of age (N = 1885). The data were analyzed using restricted maximum likelihood analysis, by fitting univariate and multivariate animal models. All three weight traits were significantly influenced by birth year, sex and birth type. Age of dam only significantly affected birth weight. Log-likelihood ratio tests were conducted to determine the most suitable model for each growth trait in univariate analyses. Direct and total heritability estimates for birth weight, weaning weight and weight at six months of age (based on the best model) were 0.42 and 0.16 (model 4), 0.38 and 0.13 (model 4) and 0.14 and 0.14 (model 1), respectively. Estimation of maternal heritability for birth weight and weaning weight was 0.22 and 0.18, respectively. Genetic and phenotypic correlations among these traits were positive. Phenotypic correlations among traits were low to moderate. Genetic correlations among traits were positive and higher than the corresponding phenotypic correlations. Weaning weight had a strong and significant correlation with weight at six months of age (0.99). We conclude that selection can be made in animals based on weaning weight instead of the present practice of selection based on weight at six months.

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