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Changes in the expression of genetic characteristics across cohorts in skeletal deformations of farmed salmonids

Author(s): Kause Antti | Ritola Ossi | Paananen Tuija

Journal: Genetics Selection Evolution
ISSN 0999-193X

Volume: 39;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 529;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Keywords: animal breeding | animal health | deformation | heritability | salmonids

Abstract Genetic analysis of disorder incidence in farmed animals is challenged by two factors. Disorders in different cohorts and environments could be caused by different factors, leading to changes in heritability and to less than unity genetic correlations across cohorts. Moreover, due to computational limitations, liability scale heritabilities at very low incidence may differ from those estimated at higher incidence. We tested whether these two dilemmas occur in skeletal deformations of farmed salmonids using multigeneration data from the Finnish rainbow trout breeding programme and previous salmonid studies. The results showed that heritability was close to zero in cohorts in which management practices maintained incidence at a low level. When there was a management failure and incidence was unusually high, heritability was elevated. This may be due to computational limitations at very low incidence and/or because deformations are induced by different factors in different cohorts. Most genetic correlations between deformations recorded in different generations were weakly to strongly positive. However, also negative correlations between generations were present, showing that high liability at one time can be genetically connected to low liability at another time. The results emphasise that genetic architecture of binary traits can be influenced by trait expression.
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