Breeding value evaluation in Polish fur animals: Estimates of direct heritability and portion of litter variation of fur coat and reproduction traits

https://doi.org/10.17221/4334-CJASCitation:Wierzbicki H. (2004): Breeding value evaluation in Polish fur animals: Estimates of direct heritability and portion of litter variation of fur coat and reproduction traits. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 49: 474-482.
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The study presents estimates of heritability for fur coat and reproduction traits in arctic and silver foxes kept on Polish farms. The estimates of variance components were calculated using the DFREML and single-trait animal models. Due to a discrete character of fur coat traits, they were analysed twice: (1) without normalisation of their scores distribution, (2) after the normal probability scale transformation of their scores. Linear models included random additive genetic and common litter environment effects, and fixed effects of farm × year × birth season in the silver fox or year × birth season in the arctic fox as well as the fixed effect of female age when the reproduction traits were analysed. Moreover, the estimation of variance components for fur coat traits was done by a linear model with (Model 2) or without (Model 1) inbreeding coefficients included as linear covariable. In the arctic fox accounting for inbreeding and the data transformation did not markedly influence the estimates of heritability and the portion of litter variation calculated for the fur coat traits. An inbreeding effect was negligible (except for body size – BS) likely due to the low inbred level of the arctic fox population. In the silver fox the comparison of estimates derived using 2 different linear models and 2 data sets revealed more differences than it was found in the arctic fox. Accounting for inbreeding usually led to lower estimates of heritability, mainly when heritabilities were derived from the normal probability scale-transformed data. Most of the estimates of heritability of reproduction traits were found within the range reported by other authors. However, somewhat higher heritabilities were found for litter size at birth – LSB (0.205) and litter size at weaning – LSW (0.250).    
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