Enhancing the breed analysis of the Dohne Merino by accounting for heterogeneous variances and phantom parents

Jordaan, Wilmari (2013-12)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Genetic (co)variances for body weight, clean fleece weight and fibre diameter were estimated for the South African Dohne Merino using data transformed as proportions of contemporary group means. The data analysed included body weight, clean fleece weight and fibre diameter records for 282 513 animals, evaluated between 1992 and 2011. There were 5 698 sires, 105 886 dams and 6 291 contemporary groups in the data. A three-trait animal model was fitted, where the random variables were the direct additive genetic effects, as well as the sire-flock-season (SFS) interaction, while the fixed effects included contemporary groups (FYSSM) (6 291 classes), birth status (single, twins or triplets), age of dam (1 to 3 years), which was plotted as a linear regression as well as age at performance measurement, which was fitted as a polynomial. The direct heritability estimates (SE) for body weight, clean fleece weight and fibre diameter were 0.265 (0.005), 0.210 (0.004) and 0.437 (0.005), respectively. Genetic correlations for body weight with clean fleece weight and fibre diameter were 0.035 (0.015) and 0.139 (0.011), respectively, while the genetic correlation between clean fleece weight and fibre diameter was 0.169 (0.012). Body weight had phenotypic correlations of 0.327 (0.002) and 0.150 (0.002), respectively, with clean fleece weight and fibre diameter, which had a phenotypic correlation of 0.190 (0.002) with clean fleece weight. The moderate to high heritability estimates suggests that there is substantial genetic variation, which may result in genetic improvement if selection is applied on these traits. Genetic correlations were generally low, suggesting that progress in all these traits was possible in a scientific selection program. Genetic trends derived during the study supported the contention that genetic progress in all traits was attainable in a well-constructed breeding programme. Transformation of the data to percentages of contemporary groups resulted in adjustments to breeding values. The breeding values for sires originating from flocks maintained in limiting environments (Low group; 180 sires) were adjusted upwards, while those of sires originating from a non-limiting production environment (High group; 146 sires) were adjusted downwards. These effects were markedly obvious for the quantitative traits (body weight and clean fleece weight), but to a much lesser extent for fibre diameter. This transformation resulted in the genetic trends for the Low groups being adjusted to be comparable to those in the High group for body weight and Fibre diameter. It was concluded that sire breeding values derived from transformed data would be more robust across the typical diverse environments supporting local Dohne Merino production. The genetic value of animals entering the recorded population from a commercial base (F4 animals) was below the fully recorded part of the population. The inclusion of phantom parent groups in the genetic analysis rendered genetic trends in F4 animals comparable to that of the pedigreed portion of animals in the analyses. It was concluded that animals from a commercial base (which are alleged to have advantages in terms of fitness and robustness) were more likely to perform satisfactorily for selection with the inclusion of phantom groups than without it. It was recommended that data in the national Dohne Merino analysis be transformed proportion of contemporary group means to account for heterogeneous contemporary group variances. Phantom parent groups should also be applied to the analysis to increase the probability of those animals entering the breeding flock from a commercial base being selected.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Genetiese kovariansies vir liggaamgewig, skoonvaggewig en veseldikte is vir die SA Dohne Merino bevolking in Suid-Afrika beraam nadat data getransformeer as ‘n proporsie van die kontemporêre groep gemiddelddes uitgedruk is. Die data het rekords in van liggaamsgewig, skoonvaggewig en veseldikte van 282 513 diere oor die tydperk van 1992 tot 2011 ingesluit. Die data sluit rekords van 5 698 vaars, 105 886 moers en 6 291 kontemporêre groepe in. 'n Meer-eienskapdieremodel met 'n additiewe diere-effekte sowel as 'n vaar-kudde-seisoen (SFS) interaksie is as ewekansige effekte gemodelleer, bykomstig tot die vaste effekte van kontemporêre groep (FYSSM) (6 291 klasse), geboortestatus (enkelling, tweeling of drieling), ouderdom van moer (1 tot 3 jaar) gepas as 'n lineêre regressive, sowel as ouderdom by prestasie meting as ‘n polinoom gepas. Die beraamde direkte oorerflikheid (SF) van liggaamgewig, skoonvaggewig en veseldikte van die meereienskap dieremodel was onderskeidelik 0,265 (0,005), 0,210 (0,004) en 0,437 (0,005). Die genetiese korrelasies van liggaamsgewig met skoonvaggewig en veseldikte was 0,035 (0.015) en 0,139 (0.011) onderskeidelik, terwyl die genetiese korrelasie tussen skoonvaggewig en veseldikte 0,169 (0.012) beloop het. Liggaamsgewig het onderskeie fenotipiese korrelasies van 0,327 (0.002) en 0.150 (0.002) met skoonvaggewig en veseldikte gehad, terwyl skoonvaggewig ‘n fenotipiese korrelasie van 0.190 (0.002) met veseldikte gehad het. Die medium tot hoë oorerflikheidhede dui daarop dat daar aansienlike genetiese variasie voorkom, wat kan aanleiding gee tot genetiese vordering as seleksie op die eienskappe toegepas word. Genetiese korrelasies was oor die algemeen laag wat daarop dui dat vordering in al die eienskappe deur ‘n wetenskaplike seleksie program moontlik is. Die aanspraak is deur genetiese tendense in die studie bevestig. Die transformasie van data na proporsies van kontemporêre groep gemiddeldes het daartoe gelei dat teelwaardes aangepas word. Die teelwaardes van vaars uit kuddes met ‘n omgewing wat beperk word (Lae groep:180 vaars), is opwaarts aangepas. Daarenteen is vaars uit 'n nie-beperkende produksie omgewing (Hoë groep:146 vaars) se teelwaardes afwaarts aangepas. Hierdie effekte was veral ooglopend vir die kwantitatiewe eienskappe, liggaamgewig en skoonvaggewig, maar tot 'n mindere mate vir veseldikte. Die transformasie het daartoe gelei dat die genetiese tendense for die Lae groep aangepas word om vergelykbaar te wees met die Hoë groep vir liggaamsgewig en skoonvaggewig. Die gevolgtrekking was gemaak dat meer toepaslike vaar teelwaardes, bereken vanaf getransformeerde data, verkry word vir regoor die diverse omgewings wat produksie van plaaslike Dohne Merinos ondersteun. Die genetiese waarde van diere wat die aangetekende populasie uit ‘n kommersiële agtergrond (F4 diere) binnekom was laer as die volledig aangetekende gedeelte van die populasie. Die insluiting van skimgroepe in die genetiese ontleding het tot genetiese tendense gelei wat die F4 diere vergelykbaar gemaak het met diere in die ontleding wat wel stamboekinligting het. Die gevolgtrekking is gemaak dat diere van ‘n kommersiële agtergrond (wat aanvaar word om voordele in te hou in terme van fiksheid en robuustheid) meer geredelik geselekteer sal word vir die stoet met die insluiting van skimgroepe as daarsonder. Dit word aanbeveel dat die data in die Nasionale Dohne Merino na proporsies van die kontemporêre groepgemiddeldes getrensformeer word om vir heterogene kontemporêre groep variansies voorsiening te maak. Skimgroepe moet ook gepas word in die ontleding om die waarskynlikheid te verhoog dat diere vanuit 'n kommersiële basis, ook geselekteer sal word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85733
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