Genetic parameter estimates for preweaning growth traits in Santa Gertrudis cattle.

D. K. Aaron, F. A. Thrift, N. R. Parish

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6 Scopus citations


Genetic parameters were estimated for birth weight and weaning weight from records collected on 1,894 Santa Gertrudis calves (939 bulls, 955 heifers) during the 8-yr period, 1978 through 1985. Variance and covariance components were estimated separately by sex and combined across sexes utilizing mixed-model, least-squares procedures (Henderson's Method 3). The mathematical model assumed for estimating variance and covariance components by sex included effects of year, sire-within-year and age of dam. Also, calf weaning age was included as covariate for birth weight and weaning weight. Estimates were obtained across sexes utilizing the same model, with the addition of effects of sex of calf and the sex-of-calf X age-of-dam interaction. Heritabilities and genetic and phenotypic correlations were estimated using paternal half-sib techniques. The heritability estimate for birth weight for bulls was 1.6 times larger than that for heifers (.38 +/- .12 vs .24 +/- .10). Conversely, the heritability estimate for weaning weight for heifers was 1.5 times larger than that for bulls (.45 +/- .12 vs .30 +/- .11). However, based upon their approximate standard errors, neither of these differences was significant. Heritability estimates calculated across sexes were .32 +/- .07 and .42 +/- .08 for birth weight and weaning weight, respectively. Estimates of genetic and phenotypic correlations of birth weight and weaning weight by sex were .43 +/- .21 and .31, respectively, for bulls and .33 +/- .22 and .27, respectively, for heifers. Calculated across sexes, the genetic correlation was .40 +/- .14 and the phenotypic correlation was .29.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1495-1499
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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