Genetic parameters of direct and maternal effects for calving ease

S.A.E. Eaglen, P. Bijma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Genetic parameters of direct and maternal effects for calving ease in Dutch dairy cattle were estimated using 677,975 calving ease records from second calving. Particular emphasis was given to the presence and impact of environmental dam-offspring covariances on the estimated direct-maternal genetic correlation. Moreover, a measure of heritability for traits affected by maternal effects was developed. In contrast to previous parameters, this parameter reflects the amount of genetic variance that can be used to generate a response to selection in maternally affected traits. Estimated genetic correlations between direct and maternal effects on calving ease have often been moderately negative, particularly in beef cattle. Environmental dam-offspring covariances have been put forward as an explanation for such estimates. We investigated the impact of environmental dam-offspring covariances by fitting correlated residuals between dam and offspring records in the statistical model, and by comparing results of a sire-maternal grandsire model with those of an animal model. Results show that calving ease in Dutch dairy cattle has a direct heritability of approximately 0.08, a maternal heritability of approximately 0.04, a direct-maternal genetic correlation of approximately –0.20, and a total heritable variance equal to approximately 11% of phenotypic variance. Results of animal models and sire-maternal grandsire models were very similar. The direct-maternal environmental covariance was near zero, and consequently had very little impact on the estimated genetic parameters. Transformation of observations to a liability scale did not affect the estimated genetic parameters and yielded a nearly identical ranking of sires
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2229-2237
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Volume92
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Keywords

  • dystocia
  • models
  • components
  • difficulty
  • selection
  • weight
  • 1st

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