Estimation of Genetic Parameters for Real-time Ultrasound Measurements for Hanwoo Cows at Different Ages and Pregnancy Status

  • Lee, J.H. (Gyeongbuk Provincial College) ;
  • Lee, Y.M. (School of Biotechnology Yeungnam University) ;
  • Oh, S.H. (Department of Animal Sciences, North Carolina A&T State University) ;
  • Son, H.J. (Gyeongbuk Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Jeong, D.J. (Gyeongbuk Livestock Research Institute) ;
  • Whitley, Niki (Department of Animal Sciences, North Carolina A&T State University) ;
  • Kim, J.J. (School of Biotechnology Yeungnam University)
  • Received : 2013.07.17
  • Accepted : 2013.11.01
  • Published : 2014.02.01


The purpose of this study was to estimate genetic parameters of ultrasound measurements for longissimus dorsi muscle area (LMA), backfat thickness (BFT), and marbling score (MS) in Hanwoo cows (N = 3,062) at the ages between 18 and 42 months. Data were collected from 100 Hanwoo breeding farms in Gyeongbuk province, Korea, in 2007 and 2008. The cows were classified into four different age groups, i.e. 18 to 22 months (the first pregnancy period), 23 to 27 (the first parturition), 28 to 32 (the second pregnancy), and 33 to 42 (the second parturition), respectively. For each age group, a multi-trait animal model was used to estimate variance components and heritabilities of the three traits. The averages of LMA, BFT, and MS measurements across the cows of all age groups were 50.1 $cm^2$, 4.62 mm, and 3.04, respectively and heritability estimates were 0.09, 0.10, and 0.08 for the respective traits. However, when the data were analyzed in different age groups, heritability estimates of LMA and BFT were 0.24 and 0.47, respectively, for the cows of 18 to 22 months of age, and 0.21 for MS in the 28 to 32 months old cows. When the cows of all age groups were used, the estimates of genetic (phenotypic) correlations were 0.43 (0.35), -0.06 (0.34) and 0.21 (0.32) between LMA and BFT, LMA and MS, and BFT and MS, respectively. However, in the cow age group between 28 and 32 (18 and 22) months, the estimates of genetic (phenotypic) correlations were 0.05 (0.29), -0.15 (0.24) and 0.38 (0.24), for the respective pairs of traits. These results suggest that genetic, environmental, and phenotypic variations differ depending on cow age, such that care must be taken when ultrasound measurements are applied to selection of cows for meat quality.


Real-time Ultrasound;Heritability;Cows;Hanwoo


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