Research Article

Genetic evaluation of milk yield in Alpine goats for the first four lactations using random regression models

Published: December 19, 2014
Genet. Mol. Res. 13 (4) : 10943-10951 DOI: 10.4238/2014.December.19.16

Abstract

Random regression models have been used in evaluating test-day milk yield, providing accurate estimates of genetic values in animals. However, herd evaluation with only information from the first lactation may not be the best option from an economic perspective. Other factors should be taken into account, particularly other lactations. Our objective in this study was to analyze the genetic divergence between the first four lactations of Alpine goats. The RENPED software was used to perform descriptive statistics, check for errors in pedigree, recode the data, and for Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlations. The WOMBAT software was used to estimate the variance components and predict the breeding values. The CALC software was adopted to calculate the percentage of coincidence between the ranking of the animals and the animals kept in common at each lactation evaluation. The results show that selection using only the first lactation in small herds with a low degree of technology can be employed as a palliative measure, in view of the difficulty in evaluating all lactations. However, the selection of breeding goats and the production of catalogues should not be based only on the first lactation, because the results demonstrate inversions in the classification of the best breeders when other lactations are analyzed.

Random regression models have been used in evaluating test-day milk yield, providing accurate estimates of genetic values in animals. However, herd evaluation with only information from the first lactation may not be the best option from an economic perspective. Other factors should be taken into account, particularly other lactations. Our objective in this study was to analyze the genetic divergence between the first four lactations of Alpine goats. The RENPED software was used to perform descriptive statistics, check for errors in pedigree, recode the data, and for Pearson’s and Spearman’s correlations. The WOMBAT software was used to estimate the variance components and predict the breeding values. The CALC software was adopted to calculate the percentage of coincidence between the ranking of the animals and the animals kept in common at each lactation evaluation. The results show that selection using only the first lactation in small herds with a low degree of technology can be employed as a palliative measure, in view of the difficulty in evaluating all lactations. However, the selection of breeding goats and the production of catalogues should not be based only on the first lactation, because the results demonstrate inversions in the classification of the best breeders when other lactations are analyzed.