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Multivariate genomic predictions for age at puberty in tropically adapted beef heifers

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Engle, B. N., Corbet, N. J., Allen, J. M., Laing, A. R., Fordyce, G., McGowan, M. R., Burns, B. M., Lyons, R. E. and Hayes, B. J. (2018) Multivariate genomic predictions for age at puberty in tropically adapted beef heifers. Journal of Animal Science, 97 (1). pp. 90-100. ISSN 0021-8812

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Article Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/sky428

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jas/sky428


Heifers that have an earlier age at puberty often have greater lifetime productivity. Age at puberty is moderately heritable so selection should effectively reduce the number of days to puberty, and improve heifer productivity and profitability as a result. However, recording age at puberty is intensive, requiring repeat ovarian scanning to determine age at first corpus luteum (AGECL). Genomic selection has been proposed as a strategy to select for earlier age at puberty; however, large reference populations of cows with AGECL records and genotypes would be required to generate accurate GEBV for this trait. Reproductive maturity score (RMS) is a proxy trait for age at puberty for implementation in northern Australia beef herds, where large scale recording of AGECL is not feasible. RMS assigns a score of 0 to 5 from a single ovarian scan to describe ovarian maturity at ~600 d. Here we use multivariate genomic prediction to evaluate the value of a large RMS data set to improve accuracy of GEBV for age at puberty (AGECL). There were 882 Brahman and 990 Tropical Composite heifers with AGECL phenotypes, and an independent set of 974 Brahman, 1,798 Santa Gertrudis, and 910 Droughtmaster heifers with RMS phenotypes. All animals had 728,785 real or imputed SNP genotypes. The correlation of AGECL and RMS (h2 = 0.23) was estimated as −0.83 using the genomic information. This result also demonstrates that using genomic information it is possible to estimate genetic correlations between traits collected on different animals in different herds, with minimal or unknown pedigree linkage between them. Inclusion of heifers with RMS in the multi-trait model improved the accuracy of genomic evaluations for AGECL. Accuracy of RMS GEBV generally did not improve by adding heifers with AGECL phenotypes into the reference population. These results suggest that RMS and AGECL may be used together in a multi-trait prediction model to increase the accuracy of prediction for age at puberty in tropically adapted beef cattle.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Animal Science
Subjects:Animal culture > Breeding and breeds
Animal culture > Other special topics
Animal culture > Cattle > Meat production
Live Archive:05 Mar 2019 23:45
Last Modified:29 Nov 2021 01:10

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