Genetic (Co)variance Components for Body Weight and Body Measurements in Makooei Sheep

  • Abbasi, Mokhtar-Ali (Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Animal Science Research Institute of Iran (ASRI)) ;
  • Ghafouri-Kesbi, Farhad (Department of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Animal Science Research Institute of Iran (ASRI))
  • Received : 2010.08.02
  • Accepted : 2010.12.08
  • Published : 2011.06.01


The aim of this paper was to estimate genetic parameters for body weight and five body measurements for an experimental population of Iranian Makooei sheep maintained at the Makooei Sheep Breeding Station at Makoo, Iran. To do this, yearling live weight (YW), and five body measurements, i.e., body length (BL), heart girth (HG), height at withers (HW), height at back (HB) and scrotal circumference (SC), were analyzed in a multi-trait animal model using the DXMUX program of DFREML software package. Heritability estimates were $0.22{\pm}0.08$, $0.11{\pm}0.06$, $0.21{\pm}0.07$, $0.17{\pm}0.06$, $0.17{\pm}0.06$ and $0.32{\pm}0.10$ for YW, BL, HG, HW, HB and SC, respectively. These estimates indicate that selection in Makooei sheep would generate moderate genetic progress in body weight and body measurements. Scrotal circumference, as an indicator of reproductive potential, exhibited the highest heritability. This trait, therefore, could successfully be used to increase productivity of males and, indirectly, female fertility. Genetic correlations between traits studied were all positive and ranged from 0.15 (YW/HB) to 0.99 (HW/HB). Phenotypic correlations were also positive and ranged from moderate (0.32, HW/SC) to high (0.94, HW/HB). Positive genetic and phenotypic correlations indicate that improvement in body measurements both at the genetic and phenotypic levels is expected through selection on body weight and vice versa.


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