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Investigation of three strategies for an international genetic evaluation of beef cattle weaning weight

Author(s): Phocas Florence | Donoghue Kath | Graser Hans

Journal: Genetics Selection Evolution
ISSN 0999-193X

Volume: 37;
Issue: 5;
Start page: 361;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: limousin cattle | animal model | MACE | genetic parameters

Abstract Weaning weights from 83 389 Limousin calves born between 1993 and 2002 in France and the Trans-Tasman block (Australia/New Zealand) were analysed to compare different strategies for running an international genetic evaluation for the breed. These records were a subset of the complete data for both countries and comprised a sample of herds that had recorded progeny of sires used across both countries. Genetic and phenotypic parameters for weaning weight were estimated within the countries. The estimates of direct genetic heritabilities were higher in France than in the Trans-Tasman block (0.31 vs. 0.22), while direct-maternal genetic correlations were less negative in the Trans-Tasman block (-0.10) than in France (-0.21). Different strategies for an international evaluation were studied, and the correlations between the estimated breeding values (EBV) of national evaluations and these strategies were derived. The international evaluation strategies were a) an animal model on raw performance data with non unity genetic correlations and heterogeneous residual and genetic variances across countries; b) the same animal model applied to pre-corrected (for fixed effects) performance data; and c) a sire model on de-regressed proofs (MACE). Estimates of the genetic correlations between weaning weight in both countries were 0.86 (0.80) for direct (maternal) genetic effects for the first strategy. Estimation of variance components by MACE appeared to be very sensitive to the sample of bulls and their reliability approximations. Variance component estimates obtained using pre-corrected data were inconsistent with estimates on raw data. However, the EBV predicted using pre-corrected data and parameters estimated from the raw data were similar to those predicted from raw data. Correlations between national and international EBV were always high (> 0.90) for sires, whichever genetic effect (direct or maternal) or international evaluation model was considered. The ranking of the bulls in the top 100 is of primary interest in terms of international genetic evaluation. In this study, some re-ranking of sires was observed for the top 100 bulls between countries and between the three international evaluation models. Thus, the origin of top sires may vary according to the implemented international evaluation strategy.
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