The objective of the present study was to estimate variance components and genetic parameters for average daily gain from birth to weaning (ADGa), birth to 6 months (ADGb) and 3 to 6 months (ADGc) and corresponding Kleiber ratios (Ka, Kb, and Kc) in Nellore sheep. Data were collected from the records maintained at Livestock Research Station, Palamaner, for analysis and the data spread from 1993 to 2016 (23 years). Lambing year, sex of lamb, season of lambing, and parity of dam were included in the model as fixed effects, and ewe weight was kept as a covariate. Six animal models were fitted with various combinations of direct and maternal genetic effects using restricted maximum likelihood procedure. The Akaike’s information criterion was employed to determine the best model for each trait. Direct heritability estimates obtained in the study for ADGa, ADGb, ADGc, Ka, Kb, and Kc were 0.37, 0.41, 0.34, 0.48, 0.46, and 0.37, respectively, and their corresponding maternal heritabilities ranged from 0.11, 0.21, 0.11, 0.24, 0.22, and 0.11, respectively. (Co)variance among the direct and maternal effects were found to be negative in all the traits. Direct genetic correlations among the studied traits were positive with few exceptions, and they ranged from − 0.03 (Ka-Kc) to 0.99 (ADGa-Ka); similarly, the phenotypic correlations ranged from low to high − 0.18 (ADGa-Kc and Ka-Kc) to 0.95 (ADGa-Ka). These results indicated the importance of maternal effects in affecting the growth rate and efficiency of feed utilization traits and also suggested the possibility of moderate genetic progress for these traits through selection.
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We acknowledge the funding and operational guidance provided by ICAR-NWPSI Project Coordination cell, CSWRI, Avikanagar, Rajasthan, India, and Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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Illa, S.K., Gollamoori, G. & Nath, S. Direct and maternal variance components and genetic parameters for average daily body weight gain and Kleiber ratios in Nellore sheep. Trop Anim Health Prod 51, 155–163 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11250-018-1670-z
- Average daily gain
- Kleiber ratio
- Nellore sheep