Interpretive Summary: Combined purebred and crossbred genetic evaluation of Columbia, Suffolk, and crossbred lamb birth and weaning weights: systematic effects and heterogeneous variances
By: Napoleón Vargas Jurado, David R Notter, Joshua B Taylor, Daniel J Brown, Michelle R Mousel, Ronald M Lewis
Combining multiple breeds in a genetic evaluation allows for their direct comparison. However, differences in management and other systematic effects among breeds may affect the evaluation. Estimates of genetic merit of sires may also be biased by heterosis in crossbred progeny. We examined genetic and environmental factors that affect the efficacy of a multi-breed genetic evaluation. Birth and weaning weights of Columbia, Suffolk, and their cross, were available. Depending on the breed type, the systematic effects of dam age and either birth or birth-rearing type on weights differed. Separately for birth and weaning, weights were defined as a different trait for each breed type. A multi-breed, multi-trait model was fitted that accounted for systematic effects unique to a breed type, and heterosis. Estimated direct and maternal heritabilities were moderate. Genetic correlations between breeds were moderate to high. Estimates of genetic merit of Columbia and Suffolk sires were unaffected by bias due to heterosis and environmental effects when crossbred lambs were included in a purebred or a combined Columbia, Suffolk, and crossbred evaluation. For direct across-breed comparisons, breed type-specific adjustments for systematic effects are necessary when combining weight data on pure and crossbred lambs in a joint genetic evaluation.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.