Heritabilities and genetic correlations of lactational and daily somatic cell score with conformation traits in Polish Holstein cattle

https://doi.org/10.17221/1432-CJASCitation:Ptak E., Jagusiak W., Żarnecki A., Otwinowska-Mindur A. (2011): Heritabilities and genetic correlations of lactational and daily somatic cell score with conformation traits in Polish Holstein cattle. Czech J. Anim. Sci., 56: 205-212.
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The objective of this study was to estimate heritabilities and genetic correlations of lactational and daily somatic cell scores with descriptive and linear type traits in Polish Holstein-Friesian cows. Data were: test-day somatic cell scores and conformation evaluations of 24 599 primiparous cows, daughters of 802 sires. Cows calved from 2006 to 2007. The lactational somatic cell score was calculated as the average of four test-day somatic cell scores at least. The daily somatic cell score was the test-day somatic cell score closest to the date of type evaluation. A multi-trait animal model was used to estimate genetic parameters. (Co)variance components were estimated by a Bayesian algorithm via Gibbs sampling. The heritability of lactational somatic cell score was 0.20 and it was much higher than that of daily somatic cell score (0.13). Heritabilities of type traits were high to moderate for height at rump (0.46), size (0.39), overall conformation score (0.30), two linear rump traits (0.28–0.29) and three linear teat traits (0.26–0.29). The genetic correlation between lactational and daily somatic cell scores was 0.84. In many cases, daily somatic cell score showed higher genetic correlations with type traits than lactational somatic cell score. Descriptive udder and feet and legs scores were genetically correlated negatively with both lactational (–0.22 and –0.20) and daily somatic cell scores (–0.28 and –0.33). Somatic cell traits were genetically correlated positively with rump angle (0.21 and 0.19) and negatively with fore udder height (–0.26 and –0.29), udder depth (–0.23 and –0.17) and central ligament (–0.14 and –0.16). Due to higher heritability, direct selection for lower lactational somatic cell score would be more effective than selection for lower daily somatic cell score. The magnitude of obtained heritabilities and the favourable genetic correlations indicate that the selection utilizing some type traits could improve the resistance to mastitis.
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