Covariance functions and random regression models have been considered as an alternative for data adjustment, in sequence, stemming from the same animal along time and which presents a structured pattern of covariance. Aiming to evaluate the performance of random regression models based on the Legendre, modified Jacobi and trigonometric functions, data concerning the weights of Nellore breed animals were used from birth to the 800th day of life, in models that assumed direct additive and animal permanent environmental effects coefficients. The Schwarz Bayesian information criterion (BIC) led to the selection of the models Legendre of order six (ML6), Jacobi of order five (MJ5) and trigonometric of order six (MT6), the ML6 model presenting the lowest BIC. At the extremity of the interval, the MJ5 model presented lower variance of component estimates than those obtained through the ML6 model, however the estimates were in accordance to the medium part of the interval; while the estimates from the MT6 model were oscillating and different from those obtained through the other models. At the extremity of the interval, the heritability coefficient estimates (<img src="/img/revistas/sa/v66n4/h4_circ.gif" align="absmiddle">2) obtained through the MJ5 model were lower than those obtained through the ML6 model, however, in the medium part of the interval, they were in accordance, remaining between 0.2 and 0.3. The values obtained through the MT6 model were different from those obtained through the other models, remaining between 0.35 and 0.40 on the first 285th days and then dropping to 0.01 on the 800th days of life. The means of the estimated growth curves started to distance from the data mean tendency from the 470th days on, and in this interval, the MT6 model was the most suitable.
additive variance; heritability; Jacobi; Legendre; longitudinal data