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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

Genotype by region and season interactions on weaning weight in United States Angus cattle1


This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 90 No. 10, p. 3368-3374
    Received: May 19, 2011
    Accepted: Mar 21, 2012
    Published: January 20, 2015

    2 Corresponding author(s):

  1. J. L. Williams*,
  2. M. Łukaszewicz 2,
  3. J. K. Bertrand* and
  4. I. Misztal*
  1. *Animal and Dairy Science Department, University of Georgia, Athens 30602-2771, and
    †Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding Polish Academy of Sciences, Jastrzębiec, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland


The objective of this study was to determine if weaning weight performance is genetically consistent across different environments in the United States. The American Angus Association provided weight and pedigree data. Weaning weights observed in the Southeast (SoE) and Northwest (NW) were the focus of this study, as these regions are perceived as opposite extremes in climate. The 2 most represented calving seasons in each region were fall and winter in the SoE and winter and spring in the NW. The original data were edited to remove weaning weight records outside of 3 SD from the respective region-season mean, contemporary groups smaller than 20, and single-sire contemporary groups. The final dataset included 884,465 weaning weight records with 64,907 from fall-born calves in the SoE, 74,820 from winter-born calves in the SoE, 346,724 from winter-born calves in the NW and 398,014 from spring-born calves in the NW. Weaning weights of calves born in different region-season classes adjusted to 205 d of age were considered different but genetically correlated traits in a multivariate analysis. The sole fixed effect was weaning contemporary group and random effects included direct, maternal, maternal permanent environment, and a residual. Direct heritability estimates differed little across environments: 0.31 and 0.35 for weight in fall- and winter-born calves in the SoE, and 0.29 and 0.32 for winter- and spring-born calves in NW. Maternal heritability estimates ranged from 0.12 in the NW to 0.16 the SoE. Genetic correlations spanned from 0.69 to 0.93 among direct effects and from 0.65 to 0.95 among maternal effects. All heritability estimates had small (0.01 to 0.04) SE. The most distinct environments appeared to be winter in SoE and spring in NW (correlations of 0.69 and 0.65 for the direct and maternal effects). Different choices of sires for different environments might be justified to achieve the growth performance expected.

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