Research Article

Estimation of genetic parameters and genetic changes for growth characteristics of Santa Ines sheep

Published: August 19, 2016
Genet. Mol. Res. 15(3): gmr8910 DOI: 10.4238/gmr.15038910

Abstract

Studying genetic parameters and genetic changes in Santa Ines sheep is important, because it is the commonest breed in Brazil. This study obtained genetic data from 37,735 pedigree records of lambs over 12 years (2003-2014) from 33 flocks in 10 Brazilian States; 11,851 records of performance were available. (Co)variance components, genetic parameters and breeding values estimates were obtained by derivative-free restricted maximum likelihood in a univariate analysis that included maternal additive genetic and maternal permanent environmental effects. Birth weight, weaning weight, weight at 180 days of age, weight at 270 days of age, average daily weight gain in the following states: from birth to weaning, from weaning to 6 months, from 6 months to 9 months, and from weaning to 9 months; presence of hair in fur and leg muscularity were assessed. (Co)variance component values increased in the weight traits with age. A significant maternal effect was found in the pre-weaned stage that decreased in the post-weaned stage. High values were estimated for the maternal permanent environmental effect, possibly because of the extensive grassland that was available. High total heritability values were estimated for all of the traits evaluated. Significant, positive correlations were found between direct and maternal additive genetic traits with a gradual decrease as the lambs gained independence from their mothers. The genetic trends observed were irregular and incremental. Significant genetic variance suggests that direct selection for pre-weaning traits results in indirect selection of maternal abilities, and individual selection of any post-weaning trait results in rapid genetic improvement.

Studying genetic parameters and genetic changes in Santa Ines sheep is important, because it is the commonest breed in Brazil. This study obtained genetic data from 37,735 pedigree records of lambs over 12 years (2003-2014) from 33 flocks in 10 Brazilian States; 11,851 records of performance were available. (Co)variance components, genetic parameters and breeding values estimates were obtained by derivative-free restricted maximum likelihood in a univariate analysis that included maternal additive genetic and maternal permanent environmental effects. Birth weight, weaning weight, weight at 180 days of age, weight at 270 days of age, average daily weight gain in the following states: from birth to weaning, from weaning to 6 months, from 6 months to 9 months, and from weaning to 9 months; presence of hair in fur and leg muscularity were assessed. (Co)variance component values increased in the weight traits with age. A significant maternal effect was found in the pre-weaned stage that decreased in the post-weaned stage. High values were estimated for the maternal permanent environmental effect, possibly because of the extensive grassland that was available. High total heritability values were estimated for all of the traits evaluated. Significant, positive correlations were found between direct and maternal additive genetic traits with a gradual decrease as the lambs gained independence from their mothers. The genetic trends observed were irregular and incremental. Significant genetic variance suggests that direct selection for pre-weaning traits results in indirect selection of maternal abilities, and individual selection of any post-weaning trait results in rapid genetic improvement.