Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Genetic relations and indirect response to selection based on indices for scrotal circumference, visual scores and weight gain in beef cattle

A. A. Boligon A E , P. P. Farias A , V. M. Roso B , M. L. Santana Jr C , A. B. Bignardi C and F. R. P. Souza D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Departamento de Zootecnia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, RS, CEP 96160-000, Brazil.

B GenSys Consultores Associados S/S Ltda., Porto Alegre, RS, CEP 90680-000, Brazil.

C Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Tecnológicas, Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso, Rondonópolis, MT, CEP 78735-901, Brazil.

D Departamento de Ecologia, Zoologia e Genética, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, RS, CEP 96160-000, Brazil.

E Corresponding author. Email: arioneboligon@yahoo.com.br

Animal Production Science - https://doi.org/10.1071/AN16365
Submitted: 10 June 2016  Accepted: 2 December 2016   Published online: 23 February 2017

Abstract

Genetic improvement in beef cattle involves evaluation for fertility, growth, carcass and visual scores traits. In general, genetic and economic parameters of these traits are considered for selection index construction. The present study was conducted to establish the magnitude of genetic and phenotypic correlations between visual scores of conformation, precocity and muscling at weaning and at yearling, birth to weaning weight gain, weaning to yearling weight gain and yearling scrotal circumference, and between these traits with selection indices applied in this population. In addition, the expected gains were obtained in such traits by taking under consideration the adopted selection criteria based on indices. Positive and high genetic correlations were estimated between weaning traits (visual scores and weight gain), ranging from 0.70 ± 0.02 to 0.97 ± 0.01. In genetic terms, the same visual scores, but evaluated in two ages (weaning and yearling) showed positive and high associations, with values of 0.90 ± 0.01 (conformation), 0.88 ± 0.01 (precocity) and 0.84 ± 0.02 (muscling). Genetic associations between yearling visual scores with scrotal circumference and weaning to yearling weight gain ranging from 0.36 ± 0.02 to 0.53 ± 0.01. Using the weaning index, are expected genetic gains ranging from 0.26% to 0.70%/year of the phenotypic mean of each weaning trait. Using the yearling index, annual genetic gains estimated for weaning traits (ranging from 0.25% to 0.63% of the phenotypic mean of the trait) were lower than that obtained at yearling (ranging from 0.27% to 0.98% of the phenotypic mean of the trait). Selection for one of traits obtained at weaning should result, by correlated response, in gain for the others. Also, the choice of animals with higher breeding values for weaning visual scores, beyond anticipate the selection process, should lead to favourable changes in these traits at yearling. Selection for better body composition at yearling (higher scores) should provide increase in scrotal circumference and weight gain. The use of higher values of the indices should result in positively correlated response, but in different magnitudes for each trait used in these indices. However, in both weaning and yearling, higher genetic gains to visual scores are expected in the same period, when the selection is based on the values of these indices.

Additional keywords: Bayesian inference, morphological traits, Nellore cattle, selection index.


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