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Journal of Animal Science Abstract - Animal Genetics

Heritabilities and genetic correlations of pulmonary arterial pressure and performance traits in Angus cattle at high altitude1

 

This article in JAS

  1. Vol. 94 No. 11, p. 4483-4490
     
    Received: June 06, 2016
    Accepted: Aug 16, 2016
    Published: October 27, 2016


    2 Corresponding author(s): mark.enns@colostate.edu
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doi:10.2527/jas.2016-0703
  1. N. F. Crawford*,
  2. M. G. Thomas*,
  3. T. N. Holt,
  4. S. E. Speidel* and
  5. R. M. Enns 2*
  1. * Department of Animal Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523
     Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523

Abstract

Pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) is an indicator trait for pulmonary hypertension and for the risk of developing high-altitude disease (HAD) in cattle. Pulmonary arterial pressures provide a tool for selection of breeding cattle for tolerance to high altitude in mountainous regions of the United States. The objective of this study was to evaluate relationships between growth performance traits and yearling PAP (42.4 ± 9.9 mmHg; n = 5,776; elevation 2,150 m) using data from 1993 to 2014 in the John E. Rouse Colorado State University Beef Improvement Center (CSU-BIC) Angus herd. The breeding program used sires (n = 299) from both low- and high-elevation environments. We hypothesized that little to no genetic relationship exists between PAP and birth weight (BWT; direct and maternal), weaning weight (WW; direct and maternal), yearling weight (YW; direct and maternal), and postweaning gain (PWG). Historic selection of natural service sires from within the herd required a PAP of ≤ 42 mmHg. Outside AI sires (n = 156) used in this breeding program were not PAP tested and therefore were used with little knowledge of these sires’ high-altitude adaptability. Performance traits (± SD) routinely recorded included BWT (36.2 ± 5.1 kg; n = 8,695), WW (213.5 ± 31.8 kg; n = 8,010), YW (345.6 ± 83.8 kg; n = 5,580), and PWG (122.0 ± 63.7 kg; n = 5,449), where PWG represented the total weight gained from weaning to yearling age. Four-trait analyses using REML were conducted with an animal model. The heritability estimates (± SE) for PAP (0.26 ± 0.03), BWT direct (0.42 ± 0.04) and maternal (0.14 ± 0.02), WW direct (0.29 ± 0.04) and maternal (0.19 ± 0.03), YW direct (0.45 ± 0.04) and maternal (0.23 ± 0.03), and PWG (0.14 ± 0.02) were in the range of those reported in previous literature. Estimates of genetic correlations (± SE) revealed weak relationships between PAP and direct and maternal BWT, direct and maternal WW, direct and maternal YW, and PWG of 0.15 ± 0.09, 0.14 ± 0.10, 0.23 ± 0.09, −0.01 ± 0.10, 0.12 ± 0.08, 0.00 ± 0.09, and −0.10 ± 0.10, respectively. The results of this study suggest that selection for lower PAP measures should have minimal influence on the growth performance of yearling Angus bulls and heifers at the CSU-BIC, supporting our hypothesis.

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