Estimates of Direct and Maternal Effects on Growth Traits in Angora Rabbits

  • Niranjan, S.K. (North Temperate Regional Station, Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Sharma, S.R. (North Temperate Regional Station, Central Sheep and Wool Research Institute) ;
  • Gowane, G.R. (Division of Animal Genetics and Breeding, CSWRI)
  • Received : 2009.10.29
  • Accepted : 2010.01.14
  • Published : 2010.08.01


Genetic parameters of growth traits were estimated in the German Angora rabbit reared in the sub-temperate region of India. Estimates of (co)variance components were obtained for body weights at weaning (42 days) and post-weaning at 84, 126 and 168 days. A total of 8,324 animal records were used for the analysis of these traits. The data were analyzed by restricted maximum likelihood (REML) fitting six animal models with various combinations of direct and maternal effects. A log likelihood ratio test was used to select the most appropriate univariate model for each trait. Direct heritability estimates were observed to be moderate for the traits under study. Heritability estimates for weaning (42 d), 84, 126 and 168 d weights obtained from the best models were $0.25{\pm}0.05$, $0.17{\pm}0.05$, $0.21{\pm}0.06$ and $0.12{\pm}0.05$. Maternal effects had higher importance at weaning, and declined with the advancement of age. Significant maternal permanent environmental effect on weaning and post-weaning weights was a carryover effect of maternal influences during pre-weaning age. The estimated repeatabilities of doe effects on body weights were 0.37, 0.22, 0.18 and 0.28 at weaning, 84, 126 and 168 d body weight, respectively. Results indicated that modest rate of genetic progress is possible for body weight traits of Angora rabbit through selection. Similarly, these growth traits could be included in selection criteria along with wool traits for early selection of the animals.


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