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Genetic relationship between growth and reproductive traits in Nellore cattle

  • M. L. Santana (a1) (a2), J. P. Eler (a1), J. B. S. Ferraz (a1) and E. C. Mattos (a1)

Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate the genetic relationship between postweaning weight gain (PWG), heifer pregnancy (HP), scrotal circumference (SC) at 18 months of age, stayability at 6 years of age (STAY) and finishing visual score at 18 months of age (PREC), and to determine the potential of these traits as selection criteria for the genetic improvement of growth and reproduction in Nellore cattle. The HP was defined as the observation that a heifer conceived and remained pregnant, which was assessed by rectal palpation at 60 days. The STAY was defined as whether or not a cow calved every year up to the age of 6 years, given that she was provided the opportunity to breed. The Bayesian linear-threshold analysis via the Gibbs sampler was used to estimate the variance and covariance components applying a multitrait model. Posterior mean estimates of direct heritability were 0.15 ± 0.00, 0.42 ± 0.02, 0.49 ± 0.01, 0.11 ± 0.01 and 0.19 ± 0.00 for PWG, HP, SC, STAY and PREC, respectively. The genetic correlations between traits ranged from 0.17 to 0.62. The traits studied generally have potential for use as selection criteria in genetic breeding programs. The genetic correlations between all traits show that selection for one of these traits does not imply the loss of the others.

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