Breeding value evaluation in Polish fur animals: Estimates of (co)variances due to direct and litter effects for fur coat and reproduction traits

https://doi.org/10.17221/3907-CJASCitation:Wierzbicki H., Jagusiak W. (2006): Breeding value evaluation in Polish fur animals: Estimates of (co)variances due to direct and litter effects for fur coat and reproduction traits. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 51: 39-46.
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5 540 records of the arctic fox fur coat and reproductive traits collected in 1983–1999 were studied. The analyzed traits were: body size (BS), colour type (CT), colour purity (CP), coat density (CD), hair length (HL), general appearance (GA), total score (TS), skin length (SL), litter size at birth (LSB), litter size at weaning (LSW), number of dead pups (NPD), pup weight at weaning (PW), and pregnancy length (PL). (Co)variance components were estimated using a derivative-free algorithm of REML and a multi-trait animal model. Random effects were direct additive, common litter environment and residual. The genetic parameters for the fur coat traits (discrete characters) were estimated twice: using the original data set, and the data set in which the distribution of fur coat scores was normalised using a probit link function. Direct heritability estimates obtained from the original data set ranged from 0.108 for SL to 0.276 for HL, and were somewhat lower than those estimated using the transformed data set (they ranged from 0.109 for GA to 0.315 for CT). Reproductive traits were lowly heritable with direct heritabilities ranging from 0.060 for PW to 0.174 for LSB. Estimates of the portion of litter variation calculated from the original and transformed data set were comparable ranging from 0.045 for GA to 0.156 for CP, and from 0.059 for GA to 0.185 for TS, respectively. Genetic correlations between fur coat traits ranged from high favourable (0.948 between SL and BS, original data) to strong negative ones between CP and GA (–0.405, transformed data). High positive genetic correlations were found between LSB and LSW (0.954), and between LSB and NPD (0.783), whereas PL was negatively correlated with all other reproductive traits.  
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