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Selection index updating

Xu, S., Muir, W.M.
Theoretical and applied genetics 1992 v.83 no.4 pp. 451-458
chickens, animal breeding, selection index, genetic improvement, artificial selection
When traits become evident at different ages or there are large differences in the costs of measuring various traits, selection by independent culling levels may give a higher aggregate economic return than index selection because not all traits need to be measured on all individuals. The problems with optimum independent culling selection is that general solutions are not possible and numerical integration is needed for specific cases. Recently, Xu and Muir (1991) developed a new independent culling level procedure by use of orthogonal transformation of the original characters. With their procedure, explicit solutions for optimum truncation points are possible without numerical integration. As such, the procedure is proficient for any number of stages, and generalized theoretical comparisons of alternative breeding strategies are possible. However, their procedure was limited to the case where selection is for one character at each stage. In this paper, our previous results are extended to the general case of multi-stage index selection, called selection index updating. This procedure is called selection index updating because as traits become available in latter stages, each subsequent index contains all of the traits available up to that stage. The procedure is to develop sequential indices for each stage such that correlations among indices at different stages are zero. Optimum culling points are obtained for the updating procedure by using Xu and Muir's (1991) iterative equations. Due to the property of orthogonality of the updated indices, aggregate gain can be partitioned into gains due to various stages of selection. Partitioning of aggregate economic gain is useful to breeders who desire to adjust individual trait selection intensity based on facilities available at that stage. Methods are discussed to modify the procedure to obtain maximum aggregate economic return per unit of cost associated with obtaining measures on each trait. An application of multi-stage selection is demonstrated using a set of data for Rhode Island Red layer type chickens. A second example demonstrates the use of multi-stage selection optimized with respect to aggregate economic gain and costs associated with obtaining measurements.