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Heritability of individual fiber medullation in Peruvian alpacas

Pinares, Rubén, Gutiérrez, Gustavo Augusto, Cruz, Alan, Morante, Renzo, Cervantes, Isabel, Burgos, Alonso, Gutiérrez, Juan Pablo
Small ruminant research 2018 v.165 pp. 93-100
alpacas, demonstration farms, genetic correlation, heritability, males, pedigree, statistical models, Peru
The aim of this research was to estimate for the first time the heritability and genetic relationship between medullation and fiber diameter in each fiber by itself. A total of 21,600 fibers from 36 samples from white fleeces, 600 fibers each sample, from males between 0.4 and 10.4 years old from Pacomarca experimental farm (Inca Group, Puno, Peru) were tested using projection microscope (PM). The individual fiber diameter (FD) and the category of medullation (CM) was recorded in each fiber. CM of each fiber was assigned to one of the five categories established in the literature. The percentage of medullated fiber ranged from 12.33% to 91.67% per sample. The correlation between OFDA 100 ® medullation percentage and PM measurements was 0.79. The statistical model used for estimation of genetic parameters for CM and FD included the age as a linear and quadratic covariate as systematic effect, and the additive genetic and the permanent environmental as random effects. The pedigree that served to predict genetic values was very robust and strong, allowing obtaining reliable and significant parameters. Univariate and bivariate models were used to estimate heritability for CM and DF, as well as its genetic correlation. Different models considering CM as continuous or categorical trait were tested. The highest heritability estimate for CM was 0.36 ± 0.13 obtained using a bivariate continuous model. Using the same model, the heritability estimate for FD was 0.35 ± 0.15 and the genetic correlation between CM and FD was 0.93 ± 0.12. These results implied that selection against medullated fiber is feasible while at the same time reducing the FD in alpacas. Since measurement of CM per fiber sample was time-consuming, PM measured by OFDA 100 ® would be useful as an indicator to reduce the number of medullated fiber in alpaca fleeces.