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Title: Estimation of genetic parameters for lambing ease, birthweight and gestation length in Australian sheep
Contributor(s): Li, Li  (author); Brown, Daniel  (author)
Publication Date: 2016
DOI: 10.1071/AN14129
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Abstract: This study presents estimates of genetic parameters for lambing ease (LE), birthweight (BW) and gestation length (GL) in Australian terminal sire sheep breeds using data from the Sheep Genetics LAMBPLAN database. LE was scored on lambs on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being no assistance and 5 being other such as special veterinary assistance. The full dataset consisted of 43 448 records on LE and its two subsets (the single and twin subsets) based on the birth type of the litter were analysed. Four models with different combinations of random effects consisting of direct genetic, maternal genetic and maternal permanent environmental effects were compared. All traits were analysed using linear animal models and linear sire models with LE further analysed by threshold sire models for all datasets to evaluate the influence of datasets and models on the estimation of genetic parameters. The results showed that multiple-born lambs had shorter GL, less BW and less lambing difficulty than single-born lambs. Lambing difficulty decreased with the increase of dam age from 1.5 to 4.5 years, and then increased afterwards. Genetic parameters using linear animal models were similar to those using linear sire models for all traits. Phenotypic variance and direct heritability were higher for single-born lambs compared with twin-born lambs. No significant maternal permanent environmental effect was detected for LE. Based on results using linear animal models with the full dataset, the direct heritabilities were 0.0 ± 0.01, 0.15 ± 0.01 and 0.52 ± 0.02, the maternal heritabilities were 0.03 ± 0.01, 0.15 ± 0.01 and 0.13 ± 0.02 for LE, BW and GL, respectively. The proportions of maternal permanent environmental effects to the total variances were 0.13 ± 0.01 for BW. Low to moderate direct genetic correlations of 0.31 ± 0.09 (LE and BW), 0.24 ± 0.11 (LE and GL) and 0.08 ± 0.08 (BW and GL) were estimated using tri-variate analysis from the full dataset, indicating the trend that lambs with greater BW and longer GL would result in more lambing difficulty.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Production Science, 56(5), p. 934-940
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Australia
ISSN: 1836-0939
Field of Research (FOR): 070201 Animal Breeding
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 830310 Sheep - Meat
830311 Sheep - Wool
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU)
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