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Title: Opportunities for genetic improvement of lamb survival
Contributor(s): Brien, Forbes Donald (author); Hebart, M L (author); Robertson, M W (author); Hinch, Geoffrey  (author)orcid ; Geenty, Kennett  (author); Van Der Werf, Julius H  (author)orcid ; Smith, D H (author); Hocking Edwards, J E (author); Greeff, J C (author); Hart, K W (author); Refshauge, G (author); Bird-Gardiner, T L  (author); Gaunt, G (author); Behrendt, R (author)
Publication Date: 2010
DOI: 10.1071/AN10121
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Abstract: Data on lamb survival and associated traits involving records from 15 192 lambs, 6308 dams and 284 sires from the Sheep CRC's Information Nucleus were studied. Lamb survival to 3 days of age and to weaning was 85 and 80%, respectively, and heritability (±s.e.) was 0.014 ± 0.010 and 0.010 ± 0.010, respectively. Of the 14 traits recorded at birth, time taken for the lamb to bleat, rectal temperature and crown–rump length had the highest genetic correlations with lamb survival to weaning (–0.43 ± 0.32, 0.56 ± 0.33 and –0.38 ± 0.36, respectively). Under selection for a multi-trait objective including net reproduction rate (but not lamb survival), survival was predicted to decline genetically by 0.25 lambs weaned per 100 lambs born.year, although this was reversed to a gain of 0.20 lambs weaned per 100 lambs born.year by including the trait in the breeding objective and using 50 half-sib and 50 progeny records per selection candidate. Accuracy of selection for lamb survival was improved to 0.735 with a selection index of lamb survival to weaning, lamb ease, birth coat score, time taken to bleat, rectal temperature and crown–rump length, with the addition of 50 half-sibs and 50 progeny records per candidate. Our results suggest that unless actively incorporated into breeding objectives, lamb survival may genetically decline; however, gains are possible with direct selection using half-sib and progeny records. The addition of indirect selection criteria for lamb survival can further improve accuracy, up to 93.4%, but requires further investigation.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Animal Production Science, 50(12), p. 1017-1025
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Place of Publication: Collingwood, Australia
ISSN: 1836-5787
Field of Research (FOR): 060499 Genetics not elsewhere classified
070202 Animal Growth and Development
079999 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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