Variance Components and Genetic Parameters Estimated for Fat and Protein Content in Individual Months of Lactation: The Case of Tsigai Sheep

  • Oravcova, Marta (National Agricultural and Food Centre - Research Institute for Animal Production Nitra)
  • Received : 2015.02.17
  • Accepted : 2015.06.05
  • Published : 2016.02.01


The objective of this study was to assess variance components and genetic parameters for fat and protein content in Tsigai sheep using multivariate animal models in which fat and protein content in individual months of lactation were treated as different traits, and univariate models in which fat and protein content were treated as repeated measures of the same traits. Test day measurements were taken between the second and the seventh month of lactation. The fixed effects were lactation number, litter size and days in milk. The random effects were animal genetic effect and permanent environmental effect of ewe. The effect of flock-year-month of test day measurement was fitted either as a fixed (FYM) or random (fym) effect. Heritabilities for fat content were estimated between 0.06 and 0.17 (FYM fitted) and between 0.06 and 0.11 (fym fitted). Heritabilities for protein content were estimated between 0.15 and 0.23 (FYM fitted) and between 0.10 and 0.18 (fym fitted). For fat content, variance ratios of permanent environmental effect of ewe were estimated between 0.04 and 0.11 (FYM fitted) and between 0.02 and 0.06 (fym fitted). For protein content, variance ratios of permanent environmental effect of ewe were estimated between 0.13 and 0.20 (FYM fitted) and between 0.08 and 0.12 (fym fitted). The proportion of phenotypic variance explained by fym effect ranged from 0.39 to 0.43 for fat content and from 0.25 to 0.36 for protein content. Genetic correlations between individual months of lactation ranged from 0.74 to 0.99 (fat content) and from 0.64 to 0.99 (protein content). Fat content heritabilities estimated with univariate animal models roughly corresponded with heritability estimates from multivariate models: 0.13 (FYM fitted) and 0.07 (fym fitted). Protein content heritabilities estimated with univariate animal models also corresponded with heritability estimates from multivariate models: 0.18 (FYM fitted) and 0.13 (fym fitted).


Sheep;Milk Composition;Test Day Model;Variance Ratios;Heritability;Genetic Correlations


Supported by : Ministry of Agriculture and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic


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