Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Genetic covariance components within and among linear type traits differ among contrasting beef cattle breeds
    Doyle, Jennifer L. ; Berry, Donagh P. ; Walsh, Siobhan W. ; Veerkamp, Roel F. ; Evans, Ross D. ; Carthy, Tara R. - \ 2018
    Journal of Animal Science 96 (2018)5. - ISSN 0021-8812 - p. 1628 - 1639.
    Beef - Breeds - Cattle - Type traits

    Linear type traits describing the skeletal, muscular, and functional characteristics of an animal are routinely scored on live animals in both the dairy and beef cattle industries. Previous studies have demonstrated that genetic parameters for certain performance traits may differ between breeds; no study, however, has attempted to determine if differences exist in genetic parameters of linear type traits among breeds or sexes. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to determine if genetic covariance components for linear type traits differed among five contrasting cattle breeds, and to also investigate if these components differed by sex. A total of 18 linear type traits scored on 3,356 Angus (AA), 31,049 Charolais (CH), 3,004 Hereford (HE), 35,159 Limousin (LM), and 8,632 Simmental (SI) were used in the analysis. Data were analyzed using animal linear mixed models which included the fixed effects of sex of the animal (except in the investigation into the presence of sexual dimorphism), age at scoring, parity of the dam, and contemporary group of herd-date of scoring. Differences (P < 0.05) in heritability estimates, between at least two breeds, existed for 13 out of 18 linear type traits. Differences (P < 0.05) also existed between the pairwise within-breed genetic correlations among the linear type traits. Overall, the linear type traits in the continental breeds (i.e., CH, LM, SI) tended to have similar heritability estimates to each other as well as similar genetic correlations among the same pairwise traits, as did the traits in the British breeds (i.e., AA, HE). The correlation between a linear function of breeding values computed conditional on covariance parameters estimated from the CH breed with a linear function of breeding values computed conditional on covariance parameters estimated from the other breeds was estimated. Replacing the genetic covariance components estimated in the CH breed with those of the LM had least effect but the impact was considerable when the genetic covariance components of the AA were used. Genetic correlations between the same linear type traits in the two sexes were all close to unity (≥0.90) suggesting little advantage in considering these as separate traits for males and females. Results for the present study indicate the potential increase in accuracy of estimated breeding value prediction from considering, at least, the British breed traits separate to continental breed traits.

    Genome-wide association study for behavior, type traits, and muscular development in Charolais beef cattle
    Vallée, A. ; Daures, J. ; Arendonk, J.A.M. van; Bovenhuis, H. - \ 2016
    Journal of Animal Science 94 (2016)6. - ISSN 0021-8812 - p. 2307 - 2316.
    Association study - Beef cattle - Behavior traits - Charolais - Muscular development - Type traits

    Behavior, type traits, and muscular development are of interest for beef cattle breeding. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) enable the identification of candidate genes, which enables genebased selection and provides insight in the genetic architecture of these traits. The objective of the current study was to perform a GWAS for 3 behavior traits, 12 type traits, and muscular development in Charolais cattle. Behavior traits, including aggressiveness at parturition, aggressiveness during gestation period, and maternal care, were scored by farmers. Type traits, including udder conformation, teat, feet and legs, and locomotion, were scored by trained classifiers. Data used in the GWAS consisted of 3,274 cows with phenotypic records and genotyping information for 44,930 SNP. When SNP had a false discovery rate (FDR) smaller than 0.05, they were referred to as significant. When SNP had a FDR between 0.05 and 0.20, they were referred to as suggestive. Four significant and 12 suggestive regions were detected for aggressiveness during gestation, maternal care, udder balance, teat thinness, teat length, foot angle, foot depth, and locomotion. These 4 significant and 12 suggestive regions were not supported by other significant SNP in close proximity. No SNP with major effects were detected for behavior and type traits, and SNP associations for these traits were spread across the genome, suggesting that behavior and type traits were influenced by many genes, each explaining a small part of genetic variance. The GWAS identified 1 region on chromosome 2 significantly associated with muscular development, which included the myostatin gene (GDF8), which is known to affect muscularity. No other regions associated with muscular development were found. Results showed that the myostatin region associated with muscular development had pleiotropic effects on udder volume, teat thinness, rear leg, and leg angle.

    Genetic parameters for large-scale behavior traits and type traits in Charolais beef cows
    Vallée, A. ; Breider, I. ; Arendonk, J.A.M. van; Bovenhuis, H. - \ 2015
    Journal of Animal Science 93 (2015)9. - ISSN 0021-8812 - p. 4277 - 4284.
    Beef cattle - Behavior traits - Charolais - Heritability - Type traits

    In the last decades, beef cattle breeding mainly focused on improving production and reproduction traits. Nowadays, there is a growing interest to include behavior and type traits in the breeding goal. There is an interest in behavior as it is associated with human safety and workability and in type traits as they might be associated with longevity of cows. The objective of the current study was to estimate the heritability for behavior and type traits in Charolais and to estimate the genetic correlations among these traits. Behavior traits, including aggressiveness at parturition, aggressiveness during gestation period, and maternal care, were scored by farmers using an on-farm recording system to enable large-scale collection of phenotypes. Type traits, including udder traits (n = 3), teat traits (3), feet and leg traits (5), and locomotion (1), were scored by 10 trained classifiers. Data was available on 6,649 cows in parity 1 to 12 and located in 380 herds. Results showed that differences between herds explained up to 23% of the total phenotypic variance in behavior traits. This might be due to differences in management or to consistent differences in scoring between farmers. Aggressiveness at parturition had higher heritability (0.19) and higher genetic coefficient of variation (CVa = 11%) than aggressiveness during gestation (h2 = 0.06 and CVa = 4%) and maternal care (h2 = 0.02 and CVa = 2%). Heritabilities for udder traits (0.14 to 0.20) and teat traits (0.17 to 0.35) were higher than for feet and leg traits (0.02 to 0.19). Genetic coefficients of variation for udder and teat traits were also higher (up to 21%) than for feet and leg traits (up to 11%). Strong genetic correlations were found between behavior traits (with absolute values from 0.71 to 0.98). The genetic correlations indicate that it is difficulty to simultaneously improve maternal care and reduce aggressiveness. We concluded that there are good opportunities to implement selection for improved udder and teat traits and against aggressiveness at parturition using a simple on-farm recording system of behavior.

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