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Estimation of genetic parameters for reproductive traits in alpacas

Cruz, A., Cervantes, I., Burgos, A., Morante, R., Gutiérrez, J.P.
Animal reproduction science 2015 v.163 pp. 48-55
alpacas, artificial selection, calves, calving, calving interval, color, copulation, data collection, demonstration farms, ecotypes, genetic correlation, gestation period, heritability, models, pedigree, pregnancy diagnosis, reproductive performance, reproductive traits, selection criteria, selection intensity
One of the main deficiencies affecting animal breeding programs in Peruvian alpacas is the low reproductive performance leading to low number of animals available to select from, decreasing strongly the selection intensity. Some reproductive traits could be improved by artificial selection, but very few information about genetic parameters exists for these traits in this specie. The aim of this study was to estimate genetic parameters for six reproductive traits in alpacas both in Suri (SU) and Huacaya (HU) ecotypes, as well as their genetic relationship with fiber and morphological traits. Dataset belonging to Pacomarca experimental farm collected between 2000 and 2014 was used. Number of records for age at first service (AFS), age at first calving (AFC), copulation time (CT), pregnancy diagnosis (PD), gestation length (GL), and calving interval (CI) were, respectively, 1704, 854, 19,770, 5874, 4290 and 934. Pedigree consisted of 7742 animals. Regarding reproductive traits, model of analysis included additive and residual random effects for all traits, and also permanent environmental effect for CT, PD, GL and CI traits, with color and year of recording as fixed effects for all the reproductive traits and also age at mating and sex of calf for GL trait. Estimated heritabilities, respectively for HU and SU were 0.19 and 0.09 for AFS, 0.45 and 0.59 for AFC, 0.04 and 0.05 for CT, 0.07 and 0.05 for PD, 0.12 and 0.20 for GL, and 0.14 and 0.09 for CI. Genetic correlations between them ranged from −0.96 to 0.70. No important genetic correlations were found between reproductive traits and fiber or morphological traits in HU. However, some moderate favorable genetic correlations were found between reproductive and either fiber and morphological traits in SU. According to estimated genetic correlations, some reproductive traits might be included as additional selection criteria in HU.