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Genetic parameters estimation for preweaning traits and their relationship with reproductive, productive and morphological traits in alpaca

Cruz, A., Cervantes, I., Burgos, A., Morante, R., Gutiérrez, J.P.
Animal 2017 v.11 no.5 pp. 746-754
alpacas, average daily gain, birth weight, calving, calving interval, color, data collection, demonstration farms, females, genetic correlation, head, heritability, males, meat production, models, reproductive traits, standard deviation, weaning, weaning weight, withers
The aim of this study was to estimate the genetic parameters for preweaning traits and their relationship with reproductive, productive and morphological traits in alpacas. The data were collected from 2001 to 2015 in the Pacomarca experimental farm. The data set contained data from 4330 females and 3788 males corresponding to 6396 and 1722 animals for Huacaya and Suri variants, respectively. The number of records for Huacaya and Suri variants were 5494 and 1461 for birth weight (BW), 5429 and 1431 for birth withers height (BH), 3320 and 896 for both weaning weight (WW) and average daily gain (DG) from birth to weaning, 3317 and 896 for weaning withers height (WH), and 5514 and 1474 for survival to weaning. The reproductive traits analyzed were age at first calving and calving interval. The fiber traits were fiber diameter (FD), standard deviation of FD (SD), comfort factor and coefficient of variation of FD and the morphological traits studied were density, crimp in Huacaya and lock structure in Suri, head, coverage and balance. Regarding preweaning traits, model of analysis included additive, maternal and residual random effects for all traits, with sex, coat color, number of calving, month–year and contemporary group as systematic effects, and age at weaning as linear covariate for WW and WH. The most relevant direct heritabilities for Huacaya and Suri were 0.50 and 0.34 for WW, 0.36 and 0.66 for WH, 0.45 and 0.20 for DG, respectively. Maternal heritabilities were 0.25 and 0.38 for BW, 0.18 and 0.32 for BH, 0.29 and 0.39 for WW, 0.19 and 0.26 for WH, 0.27 and 0.36 for DG, respectively. Direct genetic correlations within preweaning traits were high and favorable and lower between direct and maternal genetic effects. The genetic correlations of preweaning traits with fiber traits were moderate and unfavorable. With morphological traits they were high and positive for Suri but not for Huacaya and favorable for direct genetic effect but unfavorable for maternal genetic effect with reproductive traits. If the selection objective was meat production, the selection would have to be based on the direct genetic effect for WW but not on the maternal genetic effect that has been shown to have less relevance. Other weaning traits such as WH or DG would be indirectly selected.