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Genetics of adaptive traits in heifers and their relationship to growth, pubertal and carcass traits in two tropical beef cattle genotypes

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Prayaga, K. C., Corbet, N.J., Johnston, D.J., Wolcott, M.L., Fordyce, G. and Burrow, H.M. (2009) Genetics of adaptive traits in heifers and their relationship to growth, pubertal and carcass traits in two tropical beef cattle genotypes. Animal Production Science, 49 (6). pp. 413-425. ISSN 1836-0939


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/EA08247


Genetic analyses of tropical adaptive traits were conducted for two tropically adapted genotypes, Brahman (BRAH) and Tropical Composite (TCOMP). Traits included tick scores (TICK), faecal egg counts (EPG), buffalo fly-lesion scores (FLY), rectal temperatures under hot conditions (TEMP), coat scores (COAT), coat colour on a light to dark scale (COLOUR), navel scores (NAVEL) and temperament measured as flight time (FT). The data comprised adaptive measures recorded at specific times on 2071 heifers comprising 966 BRAH and 1105 TCOMP. The genetic correlations of these adaptive traits with heifer growth, scanned carcass, pubertal measures and steer growth and carcass traits were estimated. BRAH recorded significantly (P < 0.05) lower TICK, EPG, FLY and TEMP than did TCOMP. BRAH also had significantly sleeker coats, lighter coat colour, more pendulous navels and more docile temperament than did TCOMP. The heritability of TICK and FLY was low (<20%), that of EPG, TEMP, NAVEL and FT was moderate (20–50%) and that of COAT and COLOUR high (>50%). In general, phenotypic correlations between these adaptive traits were low and genetic correlations were non-significant, implying trait independence. Genetic correlations between EPG and weight traits (0.29 to 0.44) indicated a positive relationship, implying no deleterious effect of worms on the growth at a genetic level, especially in TCOMP. The negative genetic correlations between COAT and body-condition score across genotypes (–0.33 to –0.48) indicated genetic advantage of sleek coats in tropics. A positive genetic correlation between COAT and the age at the first-observed corpus luteum (0.73) in BRAH indicated that BRAH with sleeker coats were genetically early maturing. Further, sleeker coats were genetically indicative of lower weights and lower fat cover at puberty in BRAH. The scanned fat measures at rump and rib sites for feedlot steers showed strong genetic correlation (0.50–0.58) with heifer TEMP, indicating genetically fatter animals had genetically lower heat tolerance. In BRAH, a positive genetic association between heifer COLOUR and scanned fat measures in steers (0.50–0.54) implied increased fatness in genetically darker animals. Further, in BRAH, a strong negative genetic correlation (–0.97) was observed between steer retail beef yield and heifer TEMP, indicating a favourable genetic association. In general, genetic correlations between adaptive traits and other economic traits were genotype specific. Further, it can be concluded that selection for productive and pubertal traits in tropical beef cattle genotypes would not adversely affect their tropical adaptability.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:coat score, genetic correlation, heat resistance, heritability, parasite resistance, temperament
Subjects:Science > Biology > Genetics
Animal culture > Cattle > Meat production
Live Archive:20 Feb 2024 23:56
Last Modified:20 Feb 2024 23:56

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