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This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 88 No. 2, p. 460-466
    Received: Nov 07, 2008
    Accepted: Oct 02, 2009
    Published: December 4, 2014

    1 Corresponding author(s):


Estimation of breed and heterosis effects for growth and carcass traits in cattle using published crossbreeding studies

  1. J. L. Williams*,
  2. I. Aguilar*†,
  3. R. Rekaya*‡§ and
  4. J. K. Bertrand 1
  1. Animal and Dairy Science Department, University of Georgia, Athens 30602-2771;
    Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria, Las Brujas, Uruguay;
    Department of Statistics and
    Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Georgia, Athens 30602-2771



Current genetic evaluations are performed separately for each breed. Multiple breed genetic evaluations, however, assume a common base among breeds, enabling producers to compare cattle of different breed makeup. Breed and heterosis effects are needed in a multibreed evaluation because databases maintained by breed associations include few crossbred animals, which may not be enough to accurately estimate these effects. The objective of this study was to infer breed effects, maternal effects, direct heterosis effects, and maternal heterosis effects for growth and carcass traits using least squares means estimates from crossbreeding studies published in the literature from 1976 to 1996. The data set was formed by recording each least squares mean along with the breed composition, maternal breed composition, and direct and maternal heterozygosity. Each trait was analyzed using a single trait fixed effect model, which included study as a fixed effect and breed composition and heterozygosity as covariates. Breed solutions for each trait were expressed relative to the Angus breed. Direct breed effects for weaning weight ranged from −7.0 ± 0.67 kg (British Dairy) to 29.3 ± 0.74 kg (Simmental), and maternal effects ranged from −11.7 ± 0.24 kg (Hereford) to 31.1 ± 2.22 kg (Gelbvieh). Direct breed effects for birth weight ranged from −0.5 ± 0.14 kg (British Dairy) to 10.1 ± 0.46 kg (Continental Beef), and maternal effects ranged from −7.2 ± 0.13 kg (Brahman) to 6.0 ± 1.07 kg (Continental Beef). Direct breed effects ranged from −17.9 ± 1.64 kg (Brahman) to 21.6 ± 1.95 kg (Charolais), from −6.5 ± 1.29 kg (Brahman) to 55.8 ± 1.47 kg (Continental Beef), from −8.1 ± 0.48 cm2 (Shorthorn) to 21.0 ± 0.48 cm2 (Continental Beef), and from −1.1 ± 0.02 cm (Continental Beef) to 0 ± 0.00 cm (Angus) for postweaning BW gain, carcass weight, LM area, and fat thickness, respectively. The use of literature estimates to predict direct and maternal breed and heterosis effects may supplement their direct prediction in a multibreed evaluation.

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