Linear and nonlinear models in genetic analyses of lamb survival in the Santa Inês hair sheep breed

Records of 3,846 lambs survival from birth to weaning of Santa Inês hair sheep breed, were analyzed by linear and non linear sire models (threshold model) to estimate variance components and heritability (h²). The models that were used to analyze survival, considered in this study as a lamb trait, included the fixed effects of sex of the lamb, combination of type of birth-rearing of lamb, and age of ewe, birth weight of lamb as covariate, and random effects of sire, herd-year-season and residual. Variance components were obtained using restricted maximum likelihood (REML), in linear model and marginal maximum likelihood in threshold model through CMMAT2 program. Estimate of heritability (h²) obtained by threshold model was 0.29 and by linear model was 0.14. Rank correlation of Spearman, between sire solutions based on the two models was 0.96. The obtained estimates in this study indicate that it is possible to acquire genetic gain to survival by selection.

Sheep; survival; heritability; sire model; threshold model

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Escola de Veterinária Caixa Postal 567, 30123-970 Belo Horizonte MG - Brazil, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2041, Tel.: (55 31) 3409-2042 - Belo Horizonte - MG - Brazil