Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 7, pp 1893–1901 | Cite as

Genetic evaluation of growth in Barki sheep using random regression models

  • Ahmed M. SallamEmail author
  • Adel H. Ibrahim
  • Samir M. Alsheikh
Regular Articles


The objective of the current study was to estimate covariance components of growth at different ages from birth to yearling in Barki lambs. A total of 16,496 records for body weights at birth (W0), 3 (W3), 6 (W6), 9 (W9), and 12 (12) months of age for Barki lambs were available. Two statistical approaches were used; multi-trait (MT) and random regression (RR) animal models assuming two random effects only, additive genetic effect (σ2a) and permanent environmental effect (σ2pe) of the animal. Regarding the RR model, Legendre polynomials (LP) of different orders for the random parts were compared in order to evaluate the most appropriate model. Bayesian information and Akaike information criteria suggested that the optimal RR model included the third order for fixed effect of lamb age and σ2pe, and fourth order of LP for σ2a (LP343). Estimates of direct heritability (h2a) from LP343 showed an ascending pattern, as it was 0.06 ± 0.03 for birth weight and reached to the peak at 9 months (0.42 ± 0.02). Thereafter, it declined again at the end of trajectory (12 months of age; 0.27 ± 0.03). The MT model showed a fluctuated pattern and lower estimates of h2a (0.19 ± 0.03, 0.11 ± 0.02, 0.12 ± 0.02, 0.11 ± 0.03, and 0.16 ± 0.04 for W0, W3, W6, W9, and W12, respectively). Considerably, similar ascending patterns of the ratio of σ2pe to phenotypic variance were reported from both RR (from 3 to 50%) and MT models (from 5 to 20%). Of interest, the RR model showed higher predicting ability of the breeding values compared with the MT model, which is an indicator for the suitability of RR models for analyzing the consecutive growth traits in sheep. Results suggested that the Barki sheep has a potential for genetic selection based on weight at different ages with selection likely to be more efficient at 9 months of age.


Genetic parameters Body weight Sheep 



The authors are acknowledging the Department of Animal Breeding and Genetic, DRC, for providing the dataset. Recommendations from Dr. Galal Abou Khadiga are appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical standards

The manuscript does not contain clinical studies or patient data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Animal and Poultry Production Division, Desert Research CenterCairoEgypt

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