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Genetics and Molecular Biology
Print version ISSN 1415-4757
BOLIGON, Arione Augusti; BALDI, Fernando and ALBUQUERQUE, Lucia Galvão de. Genetic parameters and relationships between growth traits and scrotal circumference measured at different ages in Nellore cattle. Genet. Mol. Biol. [online]. 2011, vol.34, n.2, pp. 225-230. Epub Mar 25, 2011. ISSN 1415-4757. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-47572011005000004.
Records from 106,212 Nellore animals, born between 1998 and 2006, were used to estimate (co)variance components and genetic parameters for birth weight (BW), average weight gains from birth to weaning (GBW), average weight gains from weaning to after yearling (GWAY), weaning hip height (WHH), postweaning hip height (PHH) and scrotal circumferences at 9 (SC9), 12 (SC12) and 15 (SC15) months of age. (Co)variance components were estimated by an animal model using multi-trait analysis. Heritability estimates for BW, GBW, GWAY, WHH, PHH, SC9, SC12 and SC15 were 0.31 ± 0.01; 0.25 ± 0.02; 0.30 ± 0.04; 0.51 ± 0.04; 0.54 ± 0.04; 0.39 ± 0.01; 0.41 ± 0.01 and 0.44 ± 0.02, respectively. Genetic correlations between growth traits ranged from 0.09 ± 0.01 to 0.88 ± 0.01, thereby implying that, at any age, selection to increase average weight gains will also increase stature. Genetic correlations between BW and average weight gains with scrotal circumferences were all positive and moderate (0.15 ± 0.03 to 0.38 ± 0.01). On the other hand, positive and low genetic associations were estimated between hip height and scrotal circumference at different ages (0.09 ± 0.01 to 0.17 ± 0.02). The results of this study pointed out that selection to larger scrotal circumferences in males will promote changes in average weight gains. In order to obtain Nellore cattle with the stature and size suitable for the production system, both weight gain and hip height should be included in a selection index.
Keywords : beef cattle; genetic correlation; hip height; average weight gain.