[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this research was to estimate genetic parameters for a multiple-trait evaluation of dystocia (DYS), perinatal mortality (PM), birth weight (BWT), and gestation length (GL) in Holsteins. The data included 5,712 calving records collected between 1968 and 2005 from the Iowa State University dairy breeding herd in Ankeny. The incidence of PM was 8.8% and that of DYS 28.8%; mean BWT was 40.5 kg, and GL was 279 d. A threshold-linear animal model included the effects of year, season, sex of calf, parity, sire group, direct genetic, maternal genetic, and maternal permanent environment. Direct heritabilities for DYS, PM, BWT, and GL were 0.11 (0.04), 0.13 (0.05), 0.26 (0.04), and 0.51 (0.05), respectively. Maternal heritabilities were 0.14 (0.04), 0.15 (0.03), 0.08 (0.01), and 0.08 (0.02), for DYS, PM, BWT, and GL, respectively. The heritabilities are the posterior means of the Gibbs samples with their standard deviations in parentheses. The direct genetic correlation between PM and DYS was estimated at 0.67 (0.19), whereas the maternal genetic correlation was 0.45 (0.16). Direct and maternal PM and DYS are partially controlled by the same genes. Selection on only calving ease is not sufficient to control PM. With moderate genetic correlations between all 4 traits, BWT and GL should be included with DYS and PM in an evaluation of calving performance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the association of production factors with stayability to parity 4 (STAY4) under controlled experimental conditions. Data were from 2,293 female pigs, sampled from 6 genetic lines that were entered into the National Pork Producers Council Maternal Line National Genetic Evaluation Program. Genetic lines evaluated included Newsham (NH), National Swine Registry (NSR), American Diamond Swine Genetics (ADSG), Danbred (DAN), and 2 Dekalb-Monsanto lines (DK44 and GPK347). Stepwise logistic regression was utilized in the analysis of STAY4. All effects were nested within genetic line. Categorical effects in the model were arrival date to the wean-to-finish unit (entry date) and breed-gestation-farrowing facility (farm). Continuous effects in the model were gilt backfat, LM depth, ADG, age at puberty, age at first farrowing, and traits recorded before the last litter of the sow (prefarrow backfat, number born alive, number weaned, litter weaning weight, lactation feed intake, lactation backfat loss, and lactation length). Factors significant for STAY4 included farm, entry date, age at first farrowing, ADG, gilt backfat, and lactation before removal effects, as well as feed intake, number born alive, and lactation length. Age at first farrowing and lactation feed intake affected all genetic lines. Regression coefficients for STAY4 on age at first farrowing were -0.014, -0.022, -0.017, -0.016, -0.011, and -0.021 (all P < 0.05), respectively, for NH, NSR, ADSG, DK44, GPK347, and DAN genetic lines. Regression coefficients for STAY4 on lactation feed intake were 0.043, 0.049, 0.051, 0.061, 0.120, and 0.097 (all P < 0.05), respectively, for NH, NSR, ADSG, DK44, GPK347, and DAN females. Age at puberty, age at first farrowing, and lactation feed intake had the greatest effect on STAY4.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction
Low levels of connectedness can create problems in uncoupling genetic and environmental influences on phenotypes. This can result in bias in prediction error variance and covariance, decreasing the accuracy of comparison of EBV across herds (Smith and Banos, 1991; Kennedy and Trus, 1993). The main objective of this study was to compare connectedness statistics published in the literature and determine which measure is most practical or suitable for estimating the risk associated with EBV comparisons in an across-herd analysis and to determine changes in connectedness in the U.S. Duroc population over time.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A previous genome-wide search with a moderate density 10K marker set identified many marker associations with twinning rate, either through single-marker analysis or combined linkage-linkage disequilibrium (LLD; haplotype) analysis. The objective of the current study was to validate putative marker associations using an independent set of phenotypic data. Holstein bulls (n = 921) from 100 paternal half-sib families were genotyped. Twinning rate predicted transmitting abilities were calculated using calving records from 1994 to 1998 (Data I) and 1999 to 2006 (Data II), and the underlying liability scores from threshold model analysis were used as the trait in marker association analyses. The previous analysis used 201 bulls with daughter records in Data I. In the current analysis, this was increased to 434, providing a revised estimate of effect and significance. Bulls with daughter records in Data II totaled 851, and analysis of this data provided the validation of results from analysis of Data I. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were selected to validate previously significant single-marker associations and LLD results. Bulls were genotyped for a total of 306 markers. Nine of 13 LLD regions located on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 22, 23(2) and 26 were validated, showing significant results for both Data I and II. Association analysis revealed 55 of 174 markers validated, equating to a single-marker validation rate of 31%. Stepwise backward elimination and cross-validation analyses identified 18 SNPs for use in a final reduced marker panel explaining 34% of the genetic variation, and to allow prediction of genetic merit for twinning rate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A previous genome-wide search with a moderate-density 10,000-SNP set identified many marker associations with twinning rate on BTA14 through either single-marker analysis or combined linkage-linkage disequilibrium (LLD; haplotype) analysis. The objective of the current study was to fine-map putative QTL using a more densely populated marker map and both a larger and an independent set of phenotypic data. Holstein bulls (n = 921) from 100 paternal half-sib families were genotyped for 129 SNP markers that included both original and additionally selected markers for increasing marker density in the targeted 34 megabase region. Twinning rate predicted transmitting abilities were calculated using calving records from 1994 to 1998 (data I) and 1999 to 2006 (data II), and the underlying liability scores from threshold model analysis were used as the trait in marker association analyses. The previous analysis used 201 bulls with daughter records in data I. In the current analysis, this was increased to 434, providing a revised estimate of effect and significance. Bulls with daughter records in data II totaled 851, and analysis of these data provided an opportunity for an independent analysis separate from data I. Single-marker association and LLD analyses were performed. Fifteen significant single-marker associations were found (minimally exceeding P < 8.74 x 10(-3)) to concur between data sets. Three and 12 regions in data I and data II, respectively, showed positive results for the presence of QTL from LLD analysis (P < 0.001) within the respective data sets. After combining results from single-marker association, LLD analysis, and model-building strategies, 3 QTL were identified on BTA14. Based on single-marker results from data II, BTA14 harbors QTL responsible for approximately 24% of the variation in twinning rate predicted transmitting ability.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twinning is a complex trait with negative impacts on health and reproduction, which cause economic loss in dairy production. Several twinning rate quantitative trait loci (QTL) have been detected in previous studies, but confidence intervals for QTL location are broad and many QTL are unreplicated. To identify genomic regions or genes associated with twinning rate, QTL analysis based on linkage combined with linkage disequilibrium (LLD) and individual marker associations was conducted across the genome using high-throughput single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes. A total of 9919 SNP markers were genotyped with 200 sires and sons in 19 half-sib North American Holstein dairy cattle families. After SNPs were genotyped, informative markers were selected for genome-wide association tests and QTL searches. Evidence for twinning rate QTL was found throughout the genome. Thirteen markers significantly associated with twinning rate were detected on chromosomes 2, 5 and 14 (P < 2.3 x 10(-5)). Twenty-six regions on fourteen chromosomes were identified by LLD analysis at P < 0.0007. Seven previously reported ovulation or twinning rate QTL were supported by results of single marker association or LLD analyses. Single marker association analysis and LLD mapping were complementary tools for the identification of putative QTL in this genome scan.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twinning in cattle is a complex trait that is associated with economic loss and health issues such as abortion, dystocia, and reduced calf survival. Twinning-rate QTL have been detected previously on BTA5 in the North American Holstein and Norwegian dairy cattle populations and in a USDA herd selected for high twinning rate. In previous work with the North American Holstein population, the strongest evidence for a QTL was obtained from analysis of an extended, multiple-generation family. Using additional animals, an increased density of SNP marker association tests, and a combined linkage and linkage disequilibrium mapping method, we refined the position of this QTL in the North American Holstein population. Two sets of twinning-rate predicted transmitting abilities estimated during 2 different time periods in the North American dairy cattle population were used to provide validation of results. A total of 106 SNP and 3 microsatellites were used to scan the genomic region between 5 and 80 Mb on BTA5. Combined linkage-linkage disequilibrium analysis identified significant evidence for QTL within the 25- to 35-Mb and 64- to 70-Mb regions of BTA5. The IGF-1 gene (IGF1) was examined as a positional candidate gene and an SNP in intron 2 of IGF1 was significantly associated with twinning rate by using both data sets (P = 0.003 and P = 1.05 x 10(-6)). Replication of this association in other cattle populations will be required to examine the extent of linkage disequilibrium with the underlying quantitative trait nucleotide across breeds.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mixed model (co)variance component estimates by REML and Gibbs sampling for two traits were compared for base populations and control lines of Red Flour Beetle (Tribolium castaneum). Two base populations (1296 records in the first replication, 1292 in the second) were sampled from laboratory stock. Control lines were derived from corresponding base populations with random selection and mating for 16 generations. The REML estimate of each (co)variance component for both pupa weight and family size was compared with the mean and 95% central interval of the particular (co)variance estimated by Gibbs sampling with three different weights on the given priors: ‘flat’, smallest, and 3.7% degrees of belief. Results from Gibbs sampling showed that flat priors gave a wider and more skewed marginal posterior distribution than the other two weights on priors for all parameters. In contrast, the 3.7% degree of belief on priors provided reasonably narrow and symmetric marginal posterior distributions. Estimation by REML does not have the flexibility of changing the weight on prior information as does the Bayesian analysis implemented by Gibbs sampling. In general, the 95% central intervals from the three different weights on priors in the base populations were similar to those in control lines. Most REML estimates in base populations differed from REML estimates in control lines. Insufficient information from the data, and confounding of random effects contributed to the variability of REML estimates in base populations. Evidence is presented showing that some (co)variance components were estimated with less precision than others. Results also support the hypothesis that REML estimates were equivalent to the joint mode of posterior distribution obtained from a Bayesian analysis with flat priors, but only when there was sufficient information from data, and no confounding among random effects.Vergleich von (Ko)varianz Komponenten Schätzungen in Kontrollinien des Roten Mehlkäfers (Tribolium castaneum) unter Anwendung von Restricted Maximum Likelihood und Gibbs samplingFür zwei Merkmale des Roten Mehlkäfers (Tribolium castaneum) wurden Mixed Model (Ko)varianz Komponenten mit REML und Gibbs sampling für Basispopulationen und zugehörigen Kontrolllinien geschätzt und verglichen. Stichproben aus zwei Populationen (1296 Datensätze in der ersten Wiederholung, 1292 in der zweiten) wurden aus dem Laborbestand entnommen. Die Kontrolllinien sind aus den jeweiligen Basispopulationen abgeleitet unter zufälliger Selektion und Anpaarung über 16 Generationen. Die REML Schätzung jeder (Ko)varianz Komponente, für Puppengewicht und Familiengröße, wurden mit dem Mittelwert und dem 95% Zentralintervall der entsprechenden (Ko)varianz verglichen, die mit Gibbs sampling unter drei verschiedenen Gewichtungen der a priori Informationen ermittelt wurden. Die Gewichtungsvarianten waren ‘flat’, minimal und 3,7% Glaubhaftigkeit. Die Ergebnisse aus dem Gibbs sampling zeigten, dass für alle Parameter flache prior zu einer breiteren und schieferen a posteriori Verteilung führten als die anderen beiden Gewichtungen der a priori Annahmen. Im Gegensatz, bei 3,7% Glaubhaftigkeit der a priori Annahmen ergab sich für alle Parameter eine relativ enge und symmetrische marginale a posteriori Verteilung. Berechnungen mit REML haben nicht die Flexibilität, Gewichtungen von a priori Informationen zu ändern, so wie es die Bayes Analyse in der Implementierung mit Gibbs sampling ermöglicht. Generell konnte festgestellt werden, dass das 95%ige Zentralintervall der Schätzungen unter den drei Gewichtungen in den Populationen denen der Kontrolllinien ähnlich war. Die meisten REML Schätzer in den Basispopulationen unterscheiden sich von den REML Schätzern in den Kontrolllinien. Unzureichende Informationen aus den Daten und confounding der zufälligen Effekte trugen zur Variabilität der REML Schätzungen in den Basispopulationen bei. Dies zeigt sich darin, dass einige (Ko)varianz Komponenten mit geringerer Genauigkeit geschätzt wurden als andere. Die Ergebnisse unterstützen auch die Hypothese, dass REML Schätzungen dem Zentralwert der a posteriori Verteilung entspricht, die man aus der Bayes Analyse mit flat priors erhält. Das aber nur dann, wenn ausreichende Informationen aus den Daten vorliegen und kein confounding zwischen zufälligen Effekten vorliegt.
Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 07/2008; 118(1):21 - 36. DOI:10.1111/j.1439-0388.2001.00250.x · 1.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine the association of production factors with stayability to parity 4 (STAY 4), defined as the ability of a sow to reach 4th parity. Data was from the National Pork Producers Council Maternal Line National Genetic Evaluation Program, which included 6 genetic lines and consisted of 3,283 female pigs. Factors significant for STAY 4 included: farm, entry date, age at first farrowing, average daily gain, gilt backfat, and lactation prior to removal, feed intake, number born alive, and lactation length. Age at first farrowing and lactation feed intake in the lactation prior to removal had the greatest phenotypic relationships with sow longevity across genetic lines. A younger age at first farrowing under a uniform environment was positively related to length of productive life. Genetically, selection for a reduced age at first farrowing should increase sow longevity. However, a sow that is older at first farrowing may also be favorable for sow longevity. Commercial producers should strive to increase lactation feed intake through good management to ensure sow longevity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pork loins from carcasses weighing 68–75 kg were compared for quality characteristics. A total of 120 loins, with equal numbers of pale and watery, normal and dark colored loins, were evaluated. Pale chops had a significantly higher cooking loss than normal or dark colored chops. The consumer panel scored the pale chops significantly lower in organoleptic acceptability than normal or dark chops. The trained panel gave a similar rating for the organoleptic evaluation. When the consumer panel selected pork chops from a retail display case, the normal colored chops received the highest rating and the pale, watery chops the lowest. The pale chops were the most unstable and developed a greenish-gray cast after 2–3 days' storage. The normal colored chops had significantly more intramuscular fat and less protein than either pale or dark chops.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to identify twinning rate quantitative trait loci (QTL) by typing pooled samples in a preliminary screening followed by interval mapping to test QTL effects. Four elite North American Holstein half-sib sire families with high twinning rate predicted transmitting abilities (PTA) were used in this study. Chromosomes 5, 7, 19 and 23 were not genotyped as these chromosomes were scanned for QTL in these families in a previous study. DNA was extracted from phenotypically extreme sons in each sire family. Two pools were prepared from sons of sires in each phenotypic tail, two each for high and low PTA levels for twinning rates. Each pool contained DNA from 4 to 15% of all sons of the sire depending on family. A total of 268 fluorescently labelled microsatellite markers were tested for heterozygosity in sires. About 135--170 informative markers per family were genotyped using pooled DNA samples. Based on the preliminary evidence for potential twinning rate QTL from pooled typing, interval mapping was performed subsequently on 12 chromosomal regions by family combinations. Evidence of QTL for twinning rate was found in one family on BTA 21 and 29 at a chromosome-wide P<0.05 and on BTA 8, 10 and 14 with a chromosome-wide P<0.01.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twinning in dairy cattle has been associated with many negative health and reproductive events that cause economic loss to the producer. Reports have suggested that twinning rates are increasing and that there may be a positive relationship between milk production and twinning frequency. Putative quantitative trait loci (QTL) for twinning and ovulation rate on bovine chromosomes 5, 7, 19 and 23 have been previously identified in other populations. The objective of this study was to detect and possibly confirm the existence and effects of these QTL in the North American Holstein population. Half-sib families of 20 North American Holstein sires with above average twinning rate predicted transmitting abilities (PTA) comprised the sample population under investigation. Twinning rate PTA values had been estimated from calving data. DNA extracted from semen samples was analysed using 45-61 microsatellite markers across the four chromosomes. Marker heterozygosity of the patriarchs averaged 62%. Evidence of twinning QTL was found in multiple families on chromosomes 5, 7 and 23 and in one family on chromosome 19. Four of the sires formed one three-generation family: one sire and three half-sib sons with sons of their own. This extended family was analysed with additional markers confirming a twinning QTL of significant size on chromosome 5.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this research was to determine the effect of birth weight on perinatal mortality (PM) (alive or dead at 48 h of age) and dystocia (unassisted or assisted). Data were 4528 records of births between 1968 and 1999 from the Iowa State University research dairy farm in Ankeny. The incidence of PM was 7.1%; dystocia was 23.7%. A logistic regression model was used to predict both PM and dystocia. The PM model included effects of year of birth, season (summer or winter), dystocia, parity (first or later), birth weight (kg), ratio of calfs birth weight to dam's weight (%), and gestation length (d). Odds of PM increased by 2.1%/yr. Calves born in the winter have a 36% higher risk of PM than calves born in the summer. Difficult births tend to result in PM 2.7 times more often than unassisted births. First-parity cows have a 2.4 times higher risk of PM than cows in later parities. Probabilities of PM for birth weights of 29, 35, 40, 46, and 52 kg were 2.1, 2.5, 3.4, 5.1, and 9.6%, respectively, when other factors were set at their average value. Similarly, ratios of calf to cow weight of 4.5, 5.7, 6.9, 8.1, and 9.3% yield probabilities of PM at 8.2, 4.2, 3.1, 3.5, and 5.7%, respectively. Finally, gestation lengths of 268, 273, 279, 284, and 290 d yield probabilities of PM of 5.5, 3.9, 3.1, 3.1, and 3.6%, respectively. The dystocia model included effects of year of birth, season, sex of calf, PM, parity, birth weight, and pelvic area (externally measured). Odds for dystocia decreased by 4.7%/yr. Calves born in the winter have a 15% higher risk of dystocia than calves born in the summer. Odds of male calves needing assistance were 25% greater than female calves. If a calf died in the first 48 h, then it is 2.7 times more likely that the calf needed assistance. First-parity cows have a 4.7 times higher risk of dystocia than cows in later parities. Odds of dystocia increase by 13%/kg increase in birth weight. An 11% decrease in odds for dystocia is associated with a one square decimeter (dm2) increase in pelvic area.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this article is to describe a program for evaluation of seedstock populations in the swine industry. Differences among seedstock populations for economically important traits must be identified in order for pork producers to efficiently use available genetic resources. National genetic evaluation programs have the potential to identify the important differences among populations and to increase the rate of genetic improvement in a population. Program results provide performance benchmarks that stimulate testing and selection procedures by seedstock suppliers that further increase the rate of genetic improvement. A Terminal Sire Line Genetic Evaluation Program was designed and conducted in the United States by the National Pork Producers Council (Des Moines, IA) to compare seedstock populations for use in crossbreeding systems. High levels of statistical accuracy for program results were established; the ability to detect differences of 0.25 SD per trait, a power of test of 75%, and a 5% significance level were selected. Pure breeds and breeding company sire lines were nominated for the program. Semen was collected from nominated boars and distributed to cooperating commercial producers during eight 1-wk breeding periods. Pigs were produced in 136 commercial herds and transported to testing facilities at 8 to 23 d of age. Nine of the 11 sire lines originally entered in the program completed the sampling requirements for statistical analysis. High levels of statistical accuracy and a large, representative sample of boars with restrictions on genetic relationships ensured that the program results included unbiased, highly accurate sire line data for growth, carcass, meat quality, and eating quality traits of economic importance. This program has shown commercial producers that they have several choices of sire lines for changing their crossbreeding programs in desired trait areas. Commercial product evaluation must be an ongoing process, and this program serves as a model for future testing and evaluation of diverse genetic seedstock populations.
Journal of Animal Science 11/2003; 81(10):2409-18. · 2.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Stillbirth, defined as a calf that dies just prior to, during, or within 48 h of parturition, represents a reoccurring concern among breeders of dairy cattle in the United States. About 11% of parturitions of primiparous Holstein cows result in the death of a calf; 5.7% in multiparous cows. Genetic evaluations can be reported as perinatal survival to 48 h to emphasize the positive information about the trait. The purpose of this research was to: 1) estimate genetic parameters by restricted maximum likelihood for perinatal survival rates; 2) characterize the genetic evaluation of sires for the perinatal survival of their progeny and maternal grandsires for the perinatal survival of their daughters progeny; and 3) estimate genetic trends from 1984 to 1994. Data (n = 666,339) were from the National Association of Animal Breeders calving ease database. Over 600 new young sires were available each year. The binomial response variable, 1 = alive, 0 = stillborn within 48 h of parturition was analyzed by using a sire-maternal grandsire linear mixed model. The model included fixed effects for sex of calf, dystocia, and season of birth, and gestation length as a covariate; correlated random effects of sire and maternal grandsire; and uncorrelated random effects of herd-years. Parturitions of primiparous and multiparous cows were analyzed separately. In primiparous cows, heritability estimates were 1.1 and 2.2% for sire of the calf and maternal grandsire, respectively. The genetic correlation between sire and maternal grandsire predicted transmitting ability (PTA) for perinatal survival, was 0.31; simple product moment correlations among sire-MGS PTA were 0.43 and 0.46 for primiparous and multiparous cows, respectively. The PTA for sire of the calf ranged from -2.9 (lower survival) to 2.8% (higher survival). Mean PTA from 1984 to 1994 was quite variable from year to year. Evidence showed a slightly negative, but nonsignificant, genetic trend in perinatal survival (-0.04% per year for sires and -0.02% per year for maternal grandsires). Estimates of genetic parameters and genetic trends for data from multiparous cows are also reported. Correlations among PTA for perinatal survival, milk yield, and calving ease are given.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objectives for this study were to determine 1) if there was a trend in stillbirths for the U.S. Holstein population, 2) if stillbirths are the same trait in primiparous and multiparous cows, and 3) what was the role of dystocia in stillbirths. A sample of 666,341 births from the MidStates Dairy Records Processing Center and the National Association of Animal Breeders was used to examine the influence of sire, herd, year, season, sex of calf, parity of dam, calving ease, and gestation length on the survival of the calf. Parity was scored as an ordered variable (1, 2, 3+). Calving ease was scored on a scale of 1 (no assistance) to 3+ (needed assistance). An increasing trend in stillbirths was found in primiparous and multiparous cows. The percentage of stillborn calves in primiparous cows increased from 9.5 in 1985 to 13.2 in 1996. Stillbirths in multiparous cows increased from 5.0 to 6.6% from 1985 to 1996. Variation about the trend was greater in primiparous cows than in multiparous cows. Dystocia was a major determinant of stillbirth incidence, but the association was stronger in primiparous cows. Sex of calf had different associations with stillbirth incidence in primiparous and multiparous cows. Gestation length and season of birth also had significant associations with stillbirth incidence. Logistic regression models with fixed and random effects were fit to the data to preserve the binary nature of the stillbirth response. The expected probability of stillbirths for an average herd and sire was 10% for primiparous cows and 5% for multiparous cows. Replacement of stillborn calves is a substantial cost to the dairy industry at more than $125.3 million per year. Because of the increasing incidence of stillbirths, these costs have increased by $75.9 million from 1985 to 1996.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Each year about 7% of the Holstein calves born in the United States die within 48 h of birth. The exact cause of death is unknown. The purpose of this article is to examine the complex interactions among factors (e.g., parity, season of birth, dystocia, year) contributing to stillbirth rates. A modified chi-squared automated interaction detection algorithm was used to develop classification trees explaining the most likely sequence of factors that result in a stillborn calf. The data were 666,341 births from the MidStates Dairy Records Processing Center and the National Association of Animal Breeders. Primiparous and multiparous cows clearly differ in the rate of stillbirths, 11.0 and 5.7%, respectively. Dystocia followed parity as the next most important factor within both primiparous and multiparous cows. In primiparous cows, season, year of birth, or gestation length ranked third as an important predictor for dystocia equal to 1, 2, or 3+, respectively. Gestation length ranked third in importance among the factors that affect stillbirth rates for all levels of dystocia in multiparous cows. Among multiparous cows needing assistance (dystocia 3+), stillbirth rates were greatest for shorter gestations less than the average of 280 d, 55.3% for -15 to -12 d, 45.5% for -11 to -9 d, 33.7% for -8 to -5 d, 23.8% for -4 to 13 d, and 35.4% for 14 to 15 d. Gestation length pinpointed the time when stillbirths occurred, as indicated by the increase from 23.8% stillbirth rate among calves born at or above the mean gestation length to 55.3% for those calves born -15 to -12 d below the mean gestation. Further investigation of the relationship between stillbirth rates and gestation length is needed to develop a more complete understanding of the biological processes resulting in the loss of calves at birth.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estimation of genetic parameters and accuracy of threshold model genetic predictions were investigated. Data were simulated for different population structures by using Monte Carlo techniques. Variance components were estimated by using threshold models and linear sire models applied to untransformed data, logarithmically transformed data, and transformation to Snell scores. Effects of number of categories (2, 5, and 10), incidence of categories (extreme, moderate, and normal), heritability in the underlying scale (.04, .20, and .50), and data structure (unbalanced and balanced) on accuracy of genetic prediction were investigated. The real importance of using a threshold model was to estimate genetic parameters. An expected heritability of .20 was estimated to be .22 and .10 by a threshold model and a linear model, respectively. Accuracy increased significantly with a larger number of categories, a more normal distribution of incidences, increased heritability, and more balanced data. Even threshold models were shown to be more efficient with more than two categories (e.g., binomial). Transformation of scale did not accomplish the purpose intended.
Journal of Animal Science 04/1999; 77(3):582-90. · 2.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A data file containing 122,715 lactation records of Holstein cows distributed across 11,374 herd-year-season groups was analyzed to obtain (co)variance estimates for yield, fertility and cow survival. Milk, fat, and protein yields were adjusted to 305 d. Days open was truncated to 305 d, and the number of services was truncated to 9. Survival of a cow during a full lactation (305 d) was recorded as 0 (died) or 1 (alive). Variance components for the six traits were estimated using a multiple-trait animal model and the REML procedure. The model included herd-year-season, parity (three groups), age (three groups nested within parity), sex of calf (1 = male, 2 = female), and dystocia score (1 = no problem,..., 5 = extreme difficulty) as fixed effects and animal and permanent environment as random effects. Heritabilities for milk, fat, and protein yields, days open, number of services and cow survival were 0.2, 0.18, 0.18, 0.04, 0.03, and 0.002, respectively. The corresponding repeatabilities were 0.42, 0.41, 0.41, 0.12, 0.08, and 0.009, respectively. Genetic and phenotypic correlations between yield traits were high and positive, and correlations between yields and reproduction traits were high and antagonistic. Phenotypic correlations between survival and yields were about 0.1, and their genetic counterparts were slightly negative. Thus, management practices seem to keep mortality rates of high producing cows lower even though those cows have lower genetic potential for survival than do the low producers. Fertility traits showed a slightly undesirable (e.g., 0.1 to 0.3) genetic relationship with survival, but phenotypic correlations were essentially 0. For heifers, yields increased significantly with age. For cows in other parities, the significant changes with age were reduced fertility and reduced survival.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Twelve different models for alternative progeny-testing schemes based on genetic and economic gains were compared. The first 10 alternatives were considered to be optimally operating progeny-testing schemes. Alternatives 1 to 5 considered the following combinations of technologies: 1) artificial insemination, 2) artificial insemination with sexed semen, 3) artificial insemination with embryo transfer, 4) artificial insemination and embryo transfer with few bulls as sires, and 5) artificial insemination, embryo transfer, and sexed semen with few bulls, respectively. Alternatives 6 to 12 considered cloning from dams. Alternatives 11 and 12 considered a regular progeny-testing scheme that had selection gains (intensity x accuracy x genetic standard deviation) of 890, 300, 600, and 89 kg, respectively, for the four paths. The sums of the generation intervals of the four paths were 19 yr for the first 8 alternatives and 19.5, 22, 29, and 29.5 yr for alternatives 9 to 12, respectively. Rates of genetic gain in milk yield for alternatives 1 to 5 were 257, 281, 316, 327, and 340 kg/yr, respectively. The rate of gain for other alternatives increased as number of clones increased. The use of three records per clone increased both accuracy and generation interval of a path. Cloning was highly beneficial for progeny-testing schemes with lower intensity and accuracy of selection. The discounted economic gain (break-even cost) per clone was the highest ($84) at current selection levels using sexed semen and three records on clones of the dam. The total cost associated with cloning has to be below $84 for cloning to be an economically viable option.